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"Race for Space" in Downtown Rochester

Alex Crichton

A new business competition aims to spur the growth of retail in downtown Rochester.

Organizers announced details of the "Race for the Space" contest this morning.

The plan gives applicants the opportunity to work with coaches and industry experts on a business plan, which they will pitch to a panel of judges.

The winner will get five thousand square feet of retail space at 127 East Avenue downtown, rent-free for a year.

The contest was developed by the team that formed the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.

Founder Gayle Jagel says this competition is designed to "stimulate entrepreneurship in Rochester, and invigorate the downtown area, breathing new life into spaces that are just waiting for a thriving, vibrant business to move right in."

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation says they're on board.

"We believe that what Gayle Jagel is announcing today may actually act to jump start the rebirth of retail downtown."

Other partners in the competition include the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, DHD Ventures, Buckingham Properties, and the Victor E. Salerno Center for American Enterprise at St. John Fisher College.

Jagel says this is a race, with a September 14th deadline for applicants. The website to apply is:

The cost to apply to the contest is $495.

The winner will be unveiled on Black Friday, November 28th.

Planning for phase two of the contest is already underway. 

Buckingham Properties is donating retail space at Legacy Tower and the Glass Pavilion next to Xerox.