Mayor Kim Norton has vetoed a decision to maintain the former Legends building for potential reuse.
"The financial impact and staff time spent on continued arbitration on this building is not in the best interest of the City of Rochester, and demolition should be done as quickly as possible so that the clean site is available for redevelopment," she wrote in her veto message to the Rochester City Council.
The city is in the process of creating a vision for the area west of the Zumbro River between Second and Fourth avenues southwest, which also includes a city-owned parking lot and ramp.
The Rochester City Council voted 4-2 on Oct. 18 to maintain the city-owned site at 11 Fourth St. SE after refusing to grant the building landmark status.
Five council members are needed to override a mayoral veto, with four initially voting to save the building, council member Mark Bransford, who did not attend the Oct. 18, would need to join them to maintain the council direction.
Bransford has voiced support for preserving the building in the past.
Molly Patterson-Lungren, the city’s heritage preservation and urban design coordinator, told the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission on Tuesday that the veto does not necessarily mark the building for demolition, since the council would need to take separate action on the issue.
In January, the council voted 4-3 to move ahead with actions that would lead to demolition, but no further action was taken to level the building that dates to the mid-1930s.
In her message to the council, Norton pointed out that demolition of the building has been discussed for several years, dating back to before the city purchased the site for $950,000 in 2016.
She also called costs related to maintaining the building for six months, ranging from $17,000 to $18,200, "an unwise use of city tax dollars."
She did state support for potential preservation of part of the building originally constructed in the 1930s.
"It has been shared with me that there is interest in determining if there may be portions of the façade that could be reused," she wrote. "I am willing to support a resolution to demolish the building that includes language that might allow for the preservation of reusable materials if there is a source for such a product. The costs and labor to do this should not be burdensome for the city."
Rochester City Attorney Michael Spindler-Krage said if the council fails to find five votes to overturn the veto, members will have the option to consider other action for the building, which could still include changing definitions or the timeline cited in the original action.