Thursday, April 2, 2009

Great news for a 1950s icon!

Today's Democrat and Chronicle has some excellent news about one of my favorite post-WWII buildings: the former Donuts Delite building has been purchased by the owner of Salvatore's Pizzeria, who plans to rehabilitate the building as a new location for his pizza franchise. He also plans to expand his usual offerings to include a modest breakfast menu, including - of course - doughnuts!

Donuts Delite is one of the buildings that our Recent Past Subcommittee has been interested in. We've met with city officials and neighbors who shared our concern that the building, at a very busy intersection, might fall victim to the big-box/drugstore trend. It's great to read in the article that the owner specifically did not want to sell to anyone who might demolish the building; after all, it represents his family's legacy.

The one phrase in the article that gave me a little bit of pause was where the reporter stated that the new owner plans to do some work "to give the place a '50s feel." If anyplace in Rochester already has a '50s feel, it's Donuts Delite! It's great that the new owner wants to restore the floors and booths, but I would suggest that he stick to restoring the fabulous 1950s elements that are already there, rather than introducing new elements like tin ceilings that do not relate to the building's actual history. It will be really interesting to see what he does about signage: the neon Donuts Delite sign is a strong character-defining element.

I'll be sending the new owner some information about tax credits and other preservation incentives. He may not realize that his building can qualify as "historic!"

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services