July 11, 2019

CJS Architects always looking after the neighborhood

For the folks at CJS Architects, the neighborhood surrounding their workplace is more than just the spot from where they design cool buildings and interiors.

It’s their home.

When they look out their office window on South Union Street, they feel a sense of attachment, partner Craig Jensen says.

That’s why the expansion project at The Strong National Museum of Play, as well as development of Inner Loop parcels 4 and 5 by Konar Properties and Indus Hospitality Group, is so important to them.

“We are so fundamentally tied to the community and this area,” Jensen said. “We’re building a neighborhood in front of our eyes. We’re building this neighborhood as stakeholders, not just as architects.”

CJS has worked on projects for The Strong for more than two decades so the firm is again the lead designer on this endeavor. The firm also designed the apartments that are rapidly being constructed along South Union.

Construction on the hotel next to the museum will begin in the spring, with an anticipated opening in the summer of 2021.

Of course, the principals at CJS have been proactive in their downtown quadrant before. Former partner Bob Mason spearheaded the development of townhomes in the Grove Place Neighborhood, building between 35 and 40 from 1980 to 2005. He also lived in the neighborhood, as did Jensen.

They did more than just construct townhouses in city’s oldest continually inhabited residential neighborhood, however. The firm also designed Miller Center and the Eastman East Wing at the Eastman School of Music. 

“This neighborhood was an opportunity,” Jensen said. “The townhomes infilled that area and really made it a great neighborhood.”

The staff at CJS totals 28, and growth is probable. That’s one reason the firm will leave its current space at 54 South Union St. later this summer for a new office just down the street at 114 South Union. Roc Brewing Co. LLC, which currently leases half of the building at 54 South Union, will take over the entire space.

CJS, meanwhile, will double their space to about 9,000 square feet. And Konar apartments — with between 225 and 250 units — and the new Strong will still be right outside their window.

“We prefer to work in our own neighborhood if we can,” said Jensen, one of three partners in the firm. The others are Dirk Schneider and Robert Stark.

The design professionals at CJS don’t just do new, though. The firm was recognized in May by the Preservation League of New York State for its renovation work on the Graycliff Isabelle Martin Home, a Frank Lloyd Wright estate, in the Eric County hamlet of Derby.

Published in the Rochester Business Journal by Kevin Oklobzija.

koklobzija@bridgetowermedia.com/(585) 653-4020

CJS Architects always looking after the neighborhood