Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Plan to make former Hotel Cadillac into accessible downtown housing comes into focus

Cadillac Hotel 1.jpg
Max Schulte
The former Hotel Cadillac at Chestnut and Elm.

Plans for the former Hotel Cadillac in downtown Rochester are taking shape, with developers eying a summer 2023 construction start.

The idea remains to convert the stubbornly problematic, but historic, century-old building into 42 affordable apartments.

What’s new is the focus.

The future Fine Arts Building Lofts, as it is tentatively being called, would cater to artists and financially at-risk young adults. Thirteen furnished apartments would be set aside for those renters and youths moving out of foster care, with supportive services coordinated by the YWCA.

“Part of the impetus here is poverty alleviation, and focusing on poverty at its core,” said Robert Cain, director of real estate development with Victor-based CSD Housing.

The firm’s other residential projects include 270 on East, on the former Inner Loop, and a five-story affordable housing complex planned for what today is a parking lot across West Broad Street from the City School District’s central office building.

"So if we were to provide affordable housing,” Cain said, “transportation, partnerships with local colleges, education, and other components to a furnished unit, that'll help an individual with a lot of things that folks like you and I take for granted.”

The concept of combining two populations came about organically, he said, through conversation and then study, tapping unmet needs in the community.

Cadillac Hotel 3.jpg
Max Schulte

According to the developer, the design includes 18 studios and 24 one-bedroom apartment units with five fully handicapped-accessible, and two to serve individuals with hearing or visual impairments.

All units will be income-based. None will be market rate. Artists would be given priority for the studio and one-bedroom apartments not set aside for supportive housing. Rents are expected to range from $470 for a studio to $1,075 for a one-bedroom, both with utilities and internet included.

The idea is to fill a first-floor commercial spot with an art exhibitor or gallery, and there would be furnished artist workspaces in the basement. There also are plans for a community room with a business center/computer lab and gaming area, and a community kitchen.

There's also a green element to the plans.

“We are planning on fully electrifying the building,” Cain said, “using on-site solar and off-site solar, everything will be electric, heated and cooled.”

He added: “It's really stretching some of the sustainability goals here.”

CSD expects to hear back from the state this spring on tax credits and wrap up financing soon after. Construction should take 15 months to complete. A “best-case scenario” envisions construction completion in October 2024, and full occupancy by April 2025.

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.