By: Eric Walter//September 3, 2012
By: Eric Walter//September 3, 2012//
From the beginning, developer Ben Kendig had a vision for 44 Exchange Blvd. By combining jet-age style with modern amenities, he hopes attract professionals back to live in the city’s core.
“Rochester is my town and all cities have had tough times because of populations moving to the suburbs,” he said.
To that end, the five-story former Central Trust bank building is being renovated into 68,000 square feet of commercial and apartment space. Work finished on the four-story residential portion in July and has continued on the ground and basement level, which will be dedicated to commercial use. The $6 million project was partially funded with money from the State Historic Preservation Office.
“Anyone can build put up a modern building,” said project contractor and property manager Bob Lindsay. The idea with 44 Exchange was to “bring today’s technology into yesterday’s past,” he said.
The structure was built in 1959 using a window-centric “curtain wall” design, said Kendig. Few such designs remain standing today due to energy inefficiency issues. By replacing the older glass with thermal pane windows and reinforcing the inside of the building to sustain the additional weight, they were able to solve the inefficiency issue, Lindsay said. Partially as a way to qualify for the state grant, he and the developers found ways to keep the building as accurate to the period as possible, he added. Features include custom-made tile floors and lighting fixtures.
“They had to put some [fixtures] back in production because they didn’t make them anymore,” said Lindsay.
After being occupied by Central Trust, the building was taken over by M&T Bank and later stood vacant for about a decade. As work commenced on the most recent revamp, contractors found and refurbished original tile mosaic in the lobby and other areas that had been covered with drywall, said Lindsay. Developers have also kept a drive-thru teller window on the first floor and bank vault in the basement.
Kendig said he was also sure to include modern amenities, including on-site parking, a modern fiber optic network for high-speed Internet, access control and Web cam security cameras viewable in each room. Lindsay also noted that they used special drywall to dampen sound between apartments.
In total, renovations of the residential portion took 17 months to complete, including six months of asbestos abatement, Lindsay said.
— Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk