Developers eye $45M renovation of Rochester's Midtown Manor
Developers are eying a massive overhaul of one of downtown’s largest residential towers.
Midtown Manor rises 21 stories on East Broad Street adjacent to the recently renovated Park Square, formerly Manhattan Square Apartments.
The building has 200 studio and one-bedroom units. All are affordable. But the high rise is outdated, with more than a half dozen unresolved code violations, city records show. Nearly all involve elevators.
The property is significant for several reasons.
Midtown Manor and Park Square represent the largest concentration of affordable housing in a growing downtown that is increasingly less so. Rents in the area vary, reaching as high as $2,700 for a one-bedroom apartment.
The building also stands as the last significant property to be redeveloped in the area alongside the Strong National Museum of Play and the former eastern Inner Loop.
Conifer Realty, which owns Park Square, has an agreement to buy Midtown Manor. But first they want City Council to approve a 30-year tax break. They say that deal is needed to make the renovation work financially.
Construction costs are estimated at $45 million. Total project costs, including acquisition and other expenses, stands at $85 million.
Minimal rent increases are possible, they say. But they plan to preserve affordability for low and extremely low-income renters.
In a memo to City Council members, Mayor Malik Evans noted some urgency. Conifer's purchase agreement expires in mid-December. And "existing affordability requirements ... are slated to end in 2023, when the last state regulatory agreement for affordable rental housing for the project is set to expire."
"Without the new affordability commitments agreed to by Conifer, the sale of the property after the existing 2025 expiration date could possibly include transition to market-rate housing that could result in significant rent increases for existing tenants or a need to relocate to other, more affordable housing."
It was not immediately clear to which state regulation the mayor was referring.
Conifer, through a spokeswoman, declined comment saying the company did not have any information to share. The Citywide Tenant Union, meanwhile, is pushing to slow down approval – seeking tenant protections they say were lacking in the 33-unit Park Square project.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting marking the completion of the Park Square renovations is planned for Monday morning.