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City, state unveil $12 million of renovations at the Blue Cross Arena

The next time you visit the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, things will look a little different. A $12 million, 4,500-square-foot expansion of the building, along with numerous renovations, were unveiled Tuesday. The renovations are part of the Roc the Riverway project, started in 2018, aimed to showcase waterfront property in Rochester. The arena renovations are the fourth project to be completed so far; dozens more are expected in the coming years, all backed by state funds. 

The improvements include a new roof and outdoor marquee, updated bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and a new bistro which is expected to open next year. 

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Tuesday that one of the goals for the improvements is to raise the visibility of the War Memorial’s eternal flame and river terrace. She says the arena is a crucial part of what the city has to offer its residents.

“The War Memorial plays a major role in Rochester's economy and quality of life so we couldn’t let this milestone go by without giving it its due,” said Warren. 

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, on hand for the announcement and to tour the facility, said the state’s investments in the arena and the Roc The Riverway project gives the community more places they can be proud of. 

“It's in our DNA to keep pushing the limits, whether it be for social change, racial justice, gender justice, or what we’re doing here: justice for the whole community and unearthing so many gems,” Hochul said. 

New York state has pledged an additional $8 million for another round of renovations to the Blue Cross Arena next year.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.