Longtime Rochesterians may recall an area of the city known as Bull’s Head, it’s where six streets including West Main Street and Chili Avenue meet near the old St. Mary Hospital on the city’s west side.
Dana Miller, Rochester’s Deputy Commissioner, Neighborhood and Business Development said the city has been slowly acquiring nearly every property around Bull’s Head. He said they spent about $10 million over a decade for about 12 acres of land.
“It is an area that has been historically a very important center for commerce,” said Miller. “But over time because of suburban sprawl and its effect it's been impacted very severely.”
The city said that history goes back to at least the 1860’s when there was a cattle market there and a bull’s head was hung over its front door. More recently, the area was home to one of the first Wegmans, and many small businesses. But recent decades have left the area to decay.
To revitalize the area, the city must first find a developer to figure out what this area could be.
“We’d like to have a developer on by the end of the year,” said Miller. “And then we can plan what has to happen.”
But Miller said there have been conversations with people in the neighborhood about what should be developed there for more than a decade
“And overwhelmingly what the community wants is some retail, some business use and some housing and we do anticipate a substantial number of housing units,” said Miller
Miller said he doesn’t expect houses to be a part of the property, instead he expects higher density housing like apartment buildings, as well as retail and other commercial development to be built in the area.
One thing Miller said is a must is a clean-up. He said some of the old properties were gas stations, auto mechanics, and dry cleaners. Those businesses can leave lasting marks on the surrounding environment.
Since the whole area is technically a brownfield site, Miller said state and federal funds are available for the clean up.
The city is accepting applications from developers. You can find that information here. The city’s deadline for submissions is September 28.