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

Developers eye $45M renovation of Rochester's Midtown Manor

A close-up of Midtown Manor standing near the entrance and looking up toward the roof.
Brian Sharp
Midtown Manor was built in the 1970s and, like the nearby and recently renamed Park Square, is a product of the state’s urban renewal program.

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 But the high rise is outdated, with more than a half dozen unresolved code violations, city records show.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.

Midtown Manor sits adjacent to the recently renamed Park Square, formerly Manhattan Square apartments or Southeast Towers, off East Broad Street in downtown Rochester.
Brian Sharp
Midtown Manor (left) sits adjacent to the recently renamed Park Square, formerly Manhattan Square apartments or Southeast Towers, off East Broad Street in downtown Rochester.

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.

Eight years into the removal and redevelopment of the freeway on the east side of downtown Rochester, an end to construction is within sight.

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.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.
Related Content