The artist's renderings of the future Skyview Park apartments show a modern, four-story building linked by a glass-enclosed bridge to a smaller structure of the same design.
The $45 million, 157-unit senior apartment complex is under construction at the former Medley Centre in Irondequoit. The project, a partnership between the nonprofit PathStone and Rochester Regional Health, is part of the town's ongoing efforts to transform the abandoned retail center into a multipurpose development.
"This albatross is no longer a sign of blight and adversity," said Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley of the former mall, "but one of optimism and hope."
Seventy-three of the apartments will be built in what used to be a sprawling Sears store. The apartments will be rented to residents who are 55 and older and earn no more than 60 percent of the area median income.
"A majority of our seniors fall into that threshold," Seeley said.
Half of the units will be reserved for frail, elderly seniors.
Rochester Regional Health will provide screening and referrals to residents for a series of health, legal and financial services.
Seeley said the new signs of life at the site send a signal to other potential tenants that they won't be a "lone wolf" if they locate there.
"It's hard when your community is the brunt of jokes because of an empty mall, and I think it says a lot about our people that we didn't give up on this and here we are now, seeing some signs of hope," he said.
Alex Castro, CEO of PathStone, the developer of the project, said a lot of thought went into the design.
"This isn't just dumping drywall into an old store. This is really beautiful housing here," he said. "Especially in cold-climate weather like Rochester, imagine being able to walk out of your apartment and go and walk in the mall and then when you're done, go right back into your apartment."
Right now, the rest of the 1 million-square-foot former mall is vacant, but Seeley is optimistic that the former Macy's site will be occupied soon.
"I am actually almost certain of that," he said. "There's been great interest in that site."
Irondequoit's new community center is slated to open at Skyview on the Ridge next year by mid- to late summer.
Skyview Park is expected to welcome its first residents not long after that, in the fall of 2021.
PathStone, which will also operate the complex, said applications for the units won't be accepted yet, but anyone who would like information sent to them once the application process does open can submit their name, address, email, and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 545-6340.