background_fid.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Main and Clinton plans seek to restore eyesore to its 'historic glory'

Historic black and white photo of street corner
Provided
/
Home Leasing
An undated picture shows Mayflower Donuts signs on the northwest corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue that is the namesake of the future renovated complex.

Plans to restore and renovate a series of dilapidated buildings rounding the northwest corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue are moving forward.

Developers want to start construction in the spring.

“One of the challenges here was just having one person own them all -- or have site control of them all,” said Bret Garwood, CEO of Home Leasing. “But the other big challenge is it's just going to cost an enormous amount of money to renovate these buildings because of their condition.”

Home Leasing recently gained site control, which was critical to get the $10.2 million project in the running for state funding assistance.

The developer is seeking $5 million, or half of the Downtown Investment Initiative funds that New York state awarded to the city of Rochester. If granted – a decision is expected this fall – it would be the largest-ever award from the state program.

This is one of a handful of projects being put forward, mainly focused on this stretch of East Main Street.

A picture of the northwest corner of Main and Clinton circa 1960,
Provided
/
Home Leasing
The northwest corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue, circa 1960.

Main and Clinton received the highest overall ratings during a months-long vetting process. That process, led by a local planning committee, assessed things like project readiness, developer capacity, and community benefit to prioritize projects for possible funding.

The plan is to restore the century-old buildings’ exterior and fill the structures with four retail shops at the street level, and 11 apartments in the upper floors. The apartments, likely one-bedroom units, would have rents in the $1,100 range, which is moderately priced for the location.

But it won’t be easy. Connecting four buildings, two of which are in bad shape, is going to take some doing. And there is little room to maneuver.

“This is going to be very difficult to do the renovations because there's no space anywhere,” Garwood said.

An undated photo showing a neon Genesee Beer billboard and other shop signs at the northwest corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue.
Provided
/
Home Leasing
An undated photo showing a neon Genesee Beer billboard and other shop signs at the northwest corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue.

The complex will be called The Mayflower, a name that developers came upon while searching through historical photos.

“One of them is this photo where there was a doughnut shop with this huge sign up the side of the building called Mayflower Doughnuts,” Garwood said. “So that's how we named it.

“But I've got photos ... where the whole corner, second floor is covered in neon signs advertising Genesee beer. There's been dress shops. There's been wig shops. There's been candy shops. There was a Planters Peanut shop. There's all sorts of interesting uses there, historically.”

Construction could take a year to 18 months to complete. Once finished, Garwood said, the corner will harken back to its "historic glory."

"And they're going to be this beautiful historic set of buildings on the corner,” he said.

From the archive: 13 proposals to revitalize downtown

An undated photo showing the north side of East Main Street near North Clinton Avenue.
Provided
/
Home Leasing
An undated photo showing the north side of East Main Street near North Clinton Avenue.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's business and development reporter. He has been covering Rochester since 2005, working most of that time as an investigative reporter with the Democrat and Chronicle. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.