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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.

New Digs in the South Wedge

August 2, 2010 by in Featured New Digs, South Wedge
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South and Hickory Place

An initial wave of fear swept over me the first time I heard that the piece of land between the Ables Building and the Poole Building on South Avenue was going to be developed. You see, in Rochester’s South Wedge, almost every building is saturated with an adorable, turn-of-the-century charm. That is, except for those buildings built in the latter half of the 20th century. Would this most quintessential parcel in the heart of the South Wedge’s business district fall victim to the same uninspired “modern” architecture that seemed almost inevitable? I was worried. But as the announcement continued, I heard one reassuring attribute after another. “Mixed use (residential & commercial), a mansored roof, increased parking, and a design that would add depth to the historic South Avenue streetscape, rather than interrupt it.” I crossed my fingers that Konar Properties, the developer, could pull it off.

Now, two years after that original announcement, South and Hickory Place has opened its doors to reveal a beautiful finished product that delivers on all of its builder’s promises. Nested amongst the South Wedge’s most popular businesses, South and Hickory place offers new commercial spaces that have the neighborhood abuzz over what businesses might materialize there. The 40,000 sq ft. building also provides thirty-three much needed new living spaces to the increasingly popular South Wedge Neighborhood. A well-lit parking lot keeps residents’ four-wheeled friends off the streets, which is especially convenient in a neighborhood whose existing on-street parking is already in high demand.

Once past the pin-code secured entry, residents step into the cheerful yellow lobby, where they take a short jaunt down some steps and past the mail boxes before arriving at their choice of stairs, or a shiny new elevator. Sleek charcoal colored hallways lead way to studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments on the second, third, and fourth floors. Some of the units have Northern facing windows which offer beautiful skyline views of Rochester’s very nearby center city. Other apartments offer picturesque views of the bustling South Wedge neighborhood below and the spires of Colgate Divinity in the distance. In several of the units, french doors open onto small balconies to overlook South Avenue. Gleaming hardwood floors lead the way past wide open, well equipped kitchens and into notably spacious bathrooms. South and Hickory Place offers its residents laundry facilities on every floor, as well as an indoor garbage disposal area which is kept remarkably clean. Two thirds of the apartments rent at market rate, ranging from approximately $645 for a studio to $1075 for a deluxe 2 bedroom with 2 full baths.  The other third is what is known as “affordable housing,” meaning that there is a minimum and maximum income threshold, and management accepts certain forms government assistance.

The story of how South and Hickory Place came to exist is, in and of itself, a point of interest. Normally, a developer scouts out a site, designs their space to code, and builds. If a neighborhood is very lucky, sometimes a builder will incorporate a suggestion or two from the community. In the case of South and Hickory Place, however, it was the South Wedge Planning Committee who approached Konar Properties about the hole in the South Ave street-scape, making it no wonder that the building seems to taylor fit the neighborhood. Design charettes hosted by Konar allowed neighborhood input on everything from the lighting fixtures to the building materials of the exterior walls. South and Hickory Place now shines as a beacon for other communities, reminding them to get involved in new building projects, to use the space intelligently and efficiently, and to demand of their builders the highest level of architectural authenticity.

Many of the apartments were snatched up quickly following the Grand Opening on June 1, however some units at South and Hickory Place are still available. Click Here to see the full listing details for South and Hickory Place, or enter the listing number,P1105, into the listing number field on the Newdigs Homepage, or into the Newdigs iPhone listing look-up.