ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — News 8 is learning more about the history of a downtown Rochester building that had portions of it falling down to the street below on Thursday.
The property owner has been cited for multiple violations and one city council member argues this could have been prevented.
The building at 65 Chestnut St. has been vacant since 2011, it’s owned by a company called Mid-Town Reborn. Over the years they’ve been cited for multiple code violations, but little enforcement has been done.
While construction crews continue to clean up the debris that remains on the blocked off streets surrounding the abandoned property, neighbors like Jefferey Debes recall hearing the siding come crashing down.
“My wife and I heard a crash outside, so we looked out the window,” Debes said. “And we could see debris coming down from the building and a lot of it had just missed a car.”
Since 2015, the building has been owned by Mid-Town Reborn. Records with the Monroe County Tax Collector’s office show this company is run by a woman named Judith Hains, who’s been on top of paying the property taxes each year for it.
Even as they add up to more than $4,000 annually. But the property has still been cited for nine building code violations.
“Judith needs to come out here and explain to the community why this happened?” Councilman Jose Peo told us. “This is incredible. This is over the top, so she needs to say I’m sorry, and I need to put more money into this building. Nine code violations later, this is not acceptable at all.”
Councilman Jose Peo argues this is a sign the City of Rochester needs to put more resources into the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development. To hold all developers accountable when they don’t keep up their properties.
“If we have nine code violations that means someone has been here multiple times and nothing has been done about it,” Councilman Peo continued. “So, we can give out code violations like skittles, but if we’re not going to hold our investors accountable for causing the problem then that’s disgusting.”
News 8 stopped by the address listed under Midtown Reborn and Judith Hains name for comment, but no one was home. We left contact information at the door, but as of now have not heard back.
Councilman Peo and neighbors, we spoke with believe the vacant building should be transformed into low-income housing for people downtown or demolished to create another section of a city park.