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We’re Feeling the Love!

February 14, 2012 by in Featured, Newdigs, Rochester Metro Area
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Newdigs is a finalist for a Rochester Business Journal (2012) Best of the Web Award! This is our first Best of the Web Award nomination, and we are honored. We are a finalist in the category of “Real Estate.” We’re up against two other fantastic examples of web excellence, Morgan Communities, and PayRentChex, who we’d like to take a moment to congratulate and wish good luck.

We’ve been quiet lately, holed away in our programming dungeon cranking out tons of great new products to be introduced this year… so we were shocked at this sudden, unexpected recognition! The winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 13th. Wish us luck! We won’t be quiet much longer… you’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the weeks to come as we make some big announcements.

Date Night in Pittsford

July 19, 2011 by in Pittsford, Restaurants
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The perfect location for date night or girls’ night out, Schoen Place in Pittsford is home to lots of delicious restaurants and sweet spots. Whether you’re in the mood for Mediterranean fare, French-inspired American cuisine, or homemade ice cream, you’re sure to find something to whet your appetite along the historic and scenic Erie Canal.

Looking for date ideas? You can’t go wrong with the classic “dinner and a movie” combination. Start your night with a movie at Pittsford Cinemas in Pittsford Plaza (may I suggest Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2?) then indulge at Olives Greek Taverna, a classic Greek restaurant in Northfield Common that provides delectable meals made with the freshest ingredients. Follow up your dinner with homemade ice cream from Bill Wahl’s Microcreamery right next door. The canal path across the street extends for miles, but a short walk up and down Schoen Place is enough to feel refreshed after a delicious meal. You can take a seat on one of the many benches along the path, feed the ducks, and watch the sun set over the water.

Schoen Place Pittsford, NY Flickr Image by John Lam

No matter which night of the week you venture down to the Canal, you won’t be alone! Schoen Place is a popular spot for both kids and adults to spend time. During the day, the path is littered with walkers, runners, and bikers. If you’re going for a run along the canal, expect to weave your way through strollers, empty of toddlers, waddling precariously close to the the water, tossing bread crumbs and bits of ice cream cone to the many ducks who call Pittsford home. The shops and restaurants are often bursting with people, enjoying the warm summer breeze in one of Rochester’s most charming suburbs.

Dicky’s

July 15, 2011 by in Bars, Ellwanger-Barry, Featured, Restaurants, South Wedge, Swillburg
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I knew I was hungry.  I knew that after another long day of helping renters find their perfect new digs, interviewing some excellent candidates for our storyteller internships, and replying to all the great feedback we’ve been receiving by email and on our Facebook and Twitter pages, I could use a beer.  I also knew that despite a fridge full of produce from the Public Market and my vegetable garden, I was in no mood to cook. But what I didn’t know when Ben and I stepped out of our little South Wedge duplex was where we would find this much needed sustenance.

Dicky's Rochester

We wandered aimlessly towards South Avenue, the main business corridor of the South Wedge, knowing that we were sure to find something to satiate both hunger and thirst.  Lux nearly lured us in with their hipstery goodness and the promise of a Wednesday night movie in the bar’s back yard before we decided that their brown-bagged “Luxable” meals weren’t exactly the warm dinner we sought. Maybe a mojito and a po’ boy at Beale Street Cafe?  It seemed perhaps one of the gourmet selections and the mile-long beer list at Tap & Mallet was what we needed, until our feet carried us past that, and we reached the Equal Grounds Coffee House, marking the end of the South Wedge’s little shopping district.  Would we turn back and choose one of the above, or was there perhaps another choice?  Something tucked away in the nearby streets of the Highland neighborhood, where we could eat and drink so cheaply that we might mistake ourselves for thieves?  The answer had revealed itself to us.  We hadn’t realized it until this moment, but our combined subconscious had known all along that we were headed to Dicky’s.

Its hard to find a more comfortable bar than Dicky’s, which is probably why it has lasted so long.  Although it has seen a couple of brief closings, name changes, and of course changes in ownership, Dicky’s has outlived every other bar in Rochester, staking its claim as the city’s oldest bar, having originally opened in 1880.  The trough running along the bar below the bar stools was originally running with a stream of water, so that farmers in the adjacent Swillburg neighborhood could rinse the muck from their boots before tromping around the bar.  Rumor also has it that the trough served, for gentlemen too befuddled to make it to the restroom, as a back-up option for some of their more urgent needs. (This was a time before ladies would be found in such an establishment.)  While everything from the menu to the playlist have been updated of course, the bar still has a charming neighborhood feel that would seem nearly impossible for it to ever lose.

Before finding our seats at the bar, Ben and I took a look at the specials menu.  The $6 seasonal Rohrbach looked tasty, but $6 seemed like a lot for one beer.  As we discussed, the bartender, overhearing, informed us that that was $6 for an entire pitcher of beer.  Wow!  Sold.  The specials board also suggested a $4 fried fish sandwich, and a $13 NY Strip with potatoes and asparagus.  Now, we’re not strangers to Dicky’s, so we know that there’s hardly a better cheeseburger in town, and that no matter what we chose, it would be exactly what we were craving. “Lets just get both the specials.”  It was a unanimous decision.

While we waited for our meal, we munched on Dicky’s interesting new bar snack, uncooked linguini that is deep fried, and then coated in an addictive  mixture of Parmesan cheese, salt pepper, and something that added a spicy little kick.  We made note that the playlist was always just our style, peppered with Bob Marley and Sublime.  Our beer was delicious: a dark ale that wasn’t too hoppy.  And in no time at all, we were looking at two massive plates of food.

Like most Rochester establishments, Dicky’s is well acquainted with the fish fry.  As simple as it was, their fried fish sandwich showed their vast experience in surrounding flaky white fish with a light, crispy layer of breading.  It rested between either side of a soft, fresh roll.  Topped with a piece of lettuce, and a tomato, and served with tartar sauce on the side, we found the fish sandwich to be classic, unadulterated, and very satisfying.  The mound of fat french fries next to it was just an unexpected bonus at this point, because who would imagine such a large meal for $4?

Dicky's RochesterThe quality of the NY Strip that we received was tremendous.  There wasn’t a single bite too fatty to eat, and we were warriors ready to conquer this challenge.  Well seasoned, cooked medium, the steak was juicy and tender, a contender with steaks you’d expect to find at the type of restaurant  with white linens and cloth napkins.  Overjoyed, we turned our sights on the sides.  Our asparagus came roasted to perfection, sprinkled with a little lemon juice.  We found the occasional green onion amongst the mountainous heap of slightly garlicky, well-mashed potatoes.

We were already so stuffed, and so happy that we had chosen Dicky’s, that when we received our bill, all $24 of it, we nearly cried tears of joy that we live in such an affordable, walkable, trendy little city.  Thank you, Dicky’s.  Thank you Rochester.

 

The Luxury Lofts of the Knowlton Building

May 7, 2011 by in Cascade District, Center City, City of Rochester, Cover, Featured, Featured New Digs, Rental Market Info, Rochester Metro Area
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Knowlton Building - Rochester NY Loft Apartments - Newdigs.com

Knowlton Building - Rochester NY Loft Apartments - Newdigs.com

The Knowlton Building is proof that high end loft living is alive and well in Rochester.    The Knowlton Building was privilege to a total overhaul in 1998, when the Loftus brothers, Jim and John, owners of the nearby Cascade Building, renovated it from top to bottom into luxury lofts and high-end commercial space.  Under the principals of what John Loftus calls “adaptive reuse,” the brothers took the unique space, with its high ceilings and panoramic city views, from its final days as underutilized manufacturing and warehouse space, to its present condition as some of the most attractive and popular lofts and offices in the city.

As you enter the Knowlton Building, you’ll pass through large lobby where you’ll be reminded of the building’s history as the former box factory of M.D. Knowlton Paper & Box Company.  The ceilings are barrel-vaulted brick, accented by the thick wooden beams that are characteristic of the building craftsmanship that was standard in 1895, when the Knowlton Building was established.  The huge metal sliding doors in the lobby denote the days when the space was used for much more industrial purposes than the current businesses that exist on the first, second, and third floors.  A newer elevator brings you to the residential lofts, located on the third and fourth floors.

Truly, no expense was spared in the renovation.  Each of the Knowlton Building’s fourteen residential units is meticulous in its details.  The sleek, modern fixtures add contrast to the beautifully refinished original hardwood floors.  The spacious kitchens come equipped with gas stoves, a delight to residents who are also foodies, since most loft buildings in Rochester offer electric stoves instead.  Even the kitchen cabinetry is a marvel: built by a local cabinet-maker, the drawers have the smooth, quiet, self-closing action that is indicative of a top-of-the-line kitchen.  The Knowlton Building features tankless hot water heaters, which heat water on demand, making them both more energy efficient, and better for anyone who wants to take a long shower, or fill a bathtub, without running out of hot water.  Windows stretch from hip height to the ceilings, which are 24 feet high in some units!  The closets are generously sized, with plenty of shelves and hanging space.  Laundry couldn’t be any more convenient; there is a washer and dryer in each unit.

In the same manner that you would expect from the gentlemen who took great care to convert the warehouse into such beautiful living spaces, the Loftus brothers demonstrate pride in their ownership of the Knowlton and Cascade Buildings by being present and available to tenants on a daily basis.

The building’s renovation from the defunct box factory to the dramatic apartment spaces that exist there today has helped to shape the Cascade District into the thriving residential and commercial center that it is.  “What they did in Soho in the 60’s and 70’s, we did here in the 90’s,” said John Loftus.  The Loftus brothers’ hard work has paid off for the Cascade District, which has been continuously improving since their 1985 renovation of the Cascade Building.  This April, Nothnagle Realty opened the doors of its own recently renovated warehouse building, relocating their headquarters from Brighton to the Center City. Today, there are only two remaining unrenovated warehouses in the neighborhood, both of which are currently undergoing renovations.  The Cascade Building is also undergoing some changes, with six additional units coming available this fall.  The new units will feature balconies, and have access to covered parking spaces.

Unlike the city’s other main loft district, the St. Paul Quarter, the businesses in the Cascade district are mostly offices functioning on the standard 9am-5pm work-week schedule, making for a quiet neighborhood in the evenings, and allowing much of the parking to be freed up by the time residents of the Knowlton & Cascade Buildings arrive home.  Not that parking is ever a concern for residents of the Knowlton Building and Cascade Building, since there is both covered parking, and ample space in a nearby surface lot owned by the Loftus brothers.  Residents of the Cascade District often find themselves saving a great deal on gas money, because of the convenient proximity to Rochester’s central business district, where one can conduct nearly their entire business and social lives without ever having to walk more than a mile.

Of course you must be wondering what one of these gorgeous and fabulous lofts costs to live in.  One bedroom units start at $1250/month, and two bedroom units start at $1600/month, plus utilities.  Fortunately, the Loftus brothers have thought of everything, and have added almost double the hard-foam insulation to the roof than is commonly used to create more energy efficiency in the lofts.  In addition to the insulation, the tankless hot water heaters make for very energy efficient units.  If you”d like your new digs to be in the Knowlton Building, contact their rental agent, Ben, at 585.415.6330 today, or check out our listing on Newdigs to see more information about pricing, amenities, and lease policies.

Spot Coffee will Reopen in May! Hooray!

April 28, 2011 by in Center City, Events, Restaurants
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Spot Coffee Rochester

Guess what!  According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Spot Coffee, one of Rochester’s favorite wi-fi hotspots, will reopen sometime around the 3rd week in May!

For anyone who is a newcomer to the area since Spot closed in mid October 2010, you should start looking forward to your first Spot Coffee experience!  The first thing you’ll notice as you approach Spot, is that its in a retro Chevrolet dealership, from the days when automobiles weren’t all sold on huge lots of paved farmland in the suburbs.  Now, here’s where my description becomes an approximation, because as much as I can tell you about what it was like inside Spot Coffee before the renovation (it was pretty awesome), I am just as in the dark as the rest of you about what will be unveiled after the renovation!  I am guessing that Spot Coffee hasn’t strayed too far from their previous concept of a two story floor plan with various areas to choose from that will all have a different sort of vibe, however a comment left on RocWiki, by user ChrisLaRosa leads me to believe that the once massive space has been segmented into two smaller spaces: “As part of the renovation, a wall has been built down the center which divides the former space into two halves.  As of 11/27/10, the half on the right (facing the building) has a sign on the outside which says available.”

Pre-renovation you had your choice of window-side tables, a popular location for the students who choose Spot as their study location.  There was also a curtained off “fireplace” area with comfy furniture, great for group gatherings, another window-side section with bar-type seating, and a balcony on the second floor, where one could sip coffee as they peered down below at the hustle and bustle.  The coffee bar was located in the center of the floorplan, organized with ordering on one side of the center island, and pick-up on the other, creating a nice flow that allowed for plenty of space for the often long lines that come with Spot’s busier days.  The original decor was a funky blend of colors and textures, with antique sofas, modern bistro tables, mirrored tiles around the fireplace, and long velvet curtains creating room like areas.  Although Spot never lost its groovy charm, over the years the  fabric curtains and the antique sofa had become grungier with time and use, making the renovations a welcome catharsis for the space.

According to a quote in the Democrat and Chronicle, Richard Gress, president of Spot’s U.S. operations, says that “the millwork is done, the coffee bar is in place, and they’re doing the flooring now, which is the last piece.”  So, it sounds like we should be expecting a total overhaul of the venue, though Gress has stated that the homey feel and wi-fi that Spot was well known for, will remain as features at Spot.

If this is going to be your first visit to Spot, be prepared that your coffee won’t be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. So, that’s why you’re not even going to order the coffee.  No, instead, try Spot’s excellent take on the grilled cheese sandwich, with colby and cheddar cheeses, tomatoes, and creamy dijonnaise sandwiched between grilled focaccia.  Pair your sandwich with a refreshing jet tea, a blended iced tea drink with your choice of strawberry, wildberry, strawberry-banana, mango or peach.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A coffee shop where the coffee’s no good, and this girl’s still telling me to check it out?”  Yes, this girl, while not being able to bring herself to say that Spot Coffee’s primary focus is the flavor of their coffee, cannot deny that Spot Coffee has always been such an interesting venue that it’s worthy of your patronage despite not being able to make a decent cup of joe.  So, menu choices in mind, brace yourself to make a visit to the newly renovated Spot Coffee when it is finally revealed at the end of May.

Rochester is #1 in America for Easy Commuting

March 2, 2011 by in Rochester Metro Area
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Rochester Traffic Jam by Matthew Emisse

Rochester has been racking up accolades from major publications like Forbes and CNN over the past few years for our affordable housing, quality of life, and resilience during the current economic crisis.  This month, a new study out by Kiplinger’s ranks Rochester as the best city in the nation for commuting.  The report gave statistics on commute times, distance, hours wasted, time wasted and even calculated a yearly congestion cost per commuter.  Rochester’s average commute was a mere 18.7 minutes, and the congestion cost was $273 per year.  That’s more than $100 less than the next closest city.

As it turns out, Kiplinger’s reporter, Susannah Snider graduated from Rochester’s own University of Rochester.  With first hand knowledge of upstate winters, Snider was sure to point out that winter driving here can definitely impact your commute time.  For most locals however, the occasional 10″ snow storm doesn’t even make us late for work.

This glowing report is fresh on the heels of a Forbes report that Rochester is the 4th most affordable housing market in the country.  Newdigs blog contributor, Jason Schwingle, wrote about this in a November 1 blog post.  All this positive attention is a welcome change for a town that spent the last three decades enduring waves of Kodak layoffs and shedding manufacturing jobs.  As America turns the corner of our current recession, Rochester seems poised for a great recovery.  And we’re not the only ones who think so.  CNN Money just ranked Rochester the #4 best recovery bet for housing markets.