See the 5 downtown Rochester projects that will share $10M
Five downtown Rochester projects will share nearly $10 million in state revitalization dollars.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the winning projects during a Monday morning news conference.
The state has for several years now been awarding funding to rejuvenate downtowns in communities across New York. Rochester received the award in 2021, gathered 13 proposals, and then set about a community process to prioritize the list.
Six projects ultimately were forwarded to the state. One, a proposed housing redevelopment of the Gateway building, was not awarded any funding. Those that did are as follows:
Main and Clinton corner: $4 million
Mayor Malik Evans has long decried the state of this corner and referred to it on Monday as "a gaping, embarrassing hole” in downtown’s revival.
The $4 million award was the largest. Home Leasing plans to redevelop four historic buildings, with 11 apartments for middle-income renters on the upper floors and storefronts at street level. The project is estimated at just over $10 million. Developers had sought $5 million from the state.
The buildings are in rough shape – on the outside, and especially on the inside.
“It looks like a habitat for pigeons,” said Home Leasing CEO Bret Garwood. “There (are) a lot of real substantial problems, especially on the upper floors. I personally haven't even been on some of the floors. They are frankly dangerous. So this is not just clean it up. This is a complete renovation.”
Construction should begin in 2023 in conjunction with a two-story building immediately to the north at North Clinton and Division Street.
“This will be transformational for our city,” Evans said. “All of the redevelopment that will happen there will help all of Rochester rise.”
Edwards Building: $1.75 million
Developer Patrick Dutton, his uncle Gary Dutton and cousin Luke Dutton, plan to rehab the long vacant Edwards Building into 114 apartments with street-level commercial space on St. Paul Street.
The $36 million project also would create a cooperative or shared geothermal well field under the adjacent parking lot. Dutton had sought $2.75 million from the state.
A construction timeline should firm up in the new year.
Alta Vista: $1.4 million
Ibero-American Development Corporation plans to build a six-story, 76-unit mixed-income building on four vacant lots at Franklin and Pleasant streets on the north edge of downtown near the Inner Loop.
The $32 million project would include supportive units for survivors of domestic violence. There also will be space for the Landmark Society of Western New York. And the project includes improvements to the adjacent St. Joseph's Park. Developers had sought $2 million from the state.
Main Street Commons: $1.3 million
The city of Rochester plans to create a new outdoor public space mid-block on East Main between St. Paul Street and Clinton Avenue. This project involves demolition of the vacant, former convenience store at 170-172 E. Main St. City officials and the Duttons still are hammering out details for him to use a portion of the site for café seating and be able to partially or fully close it for entertainment events.
Kresge Building Hotel: $1.3 million
The Duttons would redevelop the three-story Kresge building into a boutique hotel with a first-floor restaurant adjacent to the Main Street Commons. Project costs are estimated at $11.7 million. He had requested $1.75 million from the state.
The timeline here, and with the Commons, is unclear and in part dependent on relocating a Family Dollar store, officials said.
The state requires that construction must begin within two years.
The Duttons were the big winners of the day as far as developers go. But the focus of the awards was clearly the Main and Clinton corner.
“Until Main and Clinton is vibrant again, Rochester won't be fully back,” Hochul said.
The corner and properties to the west was to have been redeveloped years ago with Renaissance Square. That project — combining a bus terminal, a new Monroe Community College campus and a performing arts theater — collapsed amid political bickering in 2009.
But plans had been to demolish much of the block, sections of which had been vacant for decades.
Little was spent on upkeep while Renaissance Square was under consideration. When the project died, the block continued to languish without direction. Since then, several buildings have gained historic designation.
“If you look at the historic photos,” Home Leasing’s Garwood said, “I can't imagine something being better than bringing that (corner) back, right?
“It'll be brought back in a way to have uses that are more contemporary and fit for what's happening now downtown. But we need to save the historic fabric of Rochester. And I actually think it would be even more expensive to demolish these and build new. So it's also the right economic decision.”
This is Main and Clinton circa 1905. Home Leasing was awarded $4M today to rehab four buildings on the corner - what Mayor Evans called “a gaping and embarrassing hole” in downtown’s revival. pic.twitter.com/nATs8bTQcM— Brian Sharp (@SharpRoc) December 5, 2022