Good Question: How will the West Herr Auditorium Theatre preserve its historic elements?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — How will the West Herr Auditorium Theatre preserve its historic elements, with the Rochester Broadway Theatre League planning to renovate the building?

RBTL bought the entire Auditorium Theatre complex in the spring and plans to make improvements to the nearly 100-year-old building.

Peg writes: “I am deeply disappointed with the lack of attention paid for the historical preservation in the Rochester area. I’d be interested in knowing what the final outcome will be for the Auditorium Theatre and its future?”

The theatre is a designated city landmark and the Landmark Society of Western New York included the building the society’s “Five to Revive” list in 2014.

Matt Simonis, a manager of zoning with the City of Rochester, explained the city’s role in preserving historic buildings.

“It’s our role to provide them the process to go through the Rochester Preservation Board,” Simonis said.

That board is made up of seven volunteers, appointed by the mayor and city council, who look at the original details and the proposed changes.

“The code actually states that the redevelopment of a landmark property should be compatible generally with the original design concept of a structure. What that does is it allows the Preservation Board to review a building in the context of the era in which the building was built,” Simonis said.

Chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League board, Arnie Rothschild, says the league is being “very careful with the design to not tamper with anything that changes the historic nature of the venue.”

The upgrades include new elevators, a new sound system, and a new entrance going in. Construction won’t interrupt the RBTL’s season, which starts on Sept. 26 with the hit Broadway musical Frozen.

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