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City of Rochester Communications Bureau

Politicians will gather Monday to mark the groundbreaking of the Windstream building at Midtown. This will be the first construction on the site since the city and state announced the demolition of the former shopping mall and office complex in 2007. It’s a significant milestone.

But serious questions remain about the rest of the development site. Midtown Tower, which I’ve always thought was the most important piece, still needs financing. The tower is important because it would bring housing and first-floor retail. (Grocery store, perhaps?)

There’s no clear vision for the remaining parcels. The city is not interested in a performing arts center, though Buffalo’s theater is a huge economic engine. A casino is highly unlikely and the mayor has said he doesn’t want one downtown.

What do we want to see on the rest of the property? How much input should the public have? Should it really take 10 years, as the mayor has indicated, to fill in the site?

Links of the Day:

– Governor Andrew Cuomo is such a micro-manager, Crain’s quotes an insider who said:

“He is so unbelievably involved in almost everything,” said an Albany insider of Mr. Cuomo. “On one level, it’s very impressive because he’s a machine in the way he works. But it’s also completely paralyzing and debilitating because [agencies] can’t go to the bathroom without him giving the go-ahead.”

– What is Cuomo hiding? An Albany Times Union columnist writes about the governor’s secret records from his time as attorney general:

The governor is thoroughly steeped in hypocrisy when it comes to transparency. The more he utters the word, the less he pays attention to it.

– The former Erie County Executive is taking on Rep. Kathy Hochul in the 27th District race. This is the Buffalo version of Maggie v. Louise.

– Why does iced coffee cost more?

7 Responses to Midtown Needs Vision

  1. a pedestrian mall with lots of shops and eateries,mini parks and art galleries,..open air markets, like Lincoln road on south beach..:)

  2. March 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm Ben Campanelli responds:

    Well, re Midtown vision, there was this in 2010 – 12/28/2010:


    and, this – 06/29/11::


    and my fav, the Italian Theme Mall (maybe would have come with Venice-like canal and gondolas:


    I so much wanted to see the hanging cheese and salami off the mezzenine overhangs, bocce court on the in the old Wegman space, gondola dock at the old bus platform in the back and Bruno Magli shoes on display in the windows of the old McCurdy space.

    Yep, what we need is another ethnic theme mall proposal, maybe Red Neck this time.

  3. March 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm don vaccaro responds:

    Who knows how long it will take to find and finance a use for this property? I would like to see an open green space. This would probably require relatively modest funds to create, and could easily be converted to a tax-generating property, if and when.

  4. March 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm Carlos Mercado responds:

    Google “The Gateway” in Salt Lake City and see what you think. I think it is a good concept for us to adapt. A walkable shopping district with office and residential space above. It avoids the big box, suburban style attmepts that usually do more harm to a downtown than good.

    • That would be nice. KC has something similar, with architecture inspired by Seville, Spain. Honestly, I know it has been shot down a lot in the past, and not all of the critique has been wrong, but there is no reason for the Rochester area NOT to be a tourist destination. We have mild summers, plenty of parks and already have some amazing restaurants. The city just needs to sell itself and maybe develop a little more.

  5. March 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm lynn ellingwood responds:

    Remember midtown itself was urban renewal in 1961. It just isn’t working in most places. The only place ive seen is times square by Disney.

  6. March 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    I don’t want a casino in downtown either, only at Beebee Station in High Falls. A grocery store or other downtown retail should be not just for Midtown Tower, but also the Sibley Building as well. Also, for either the Midtown Block, Sibley, High Falls, 44 Exchange Street, or the vacant Greek Revival former bank on State Street could be a re-formed National Soccer Hall of Fame and International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. This could allow for a new Sahlen’s Stadium on the Midtown Site and the current Sahlen’s Stadium to be converted to a softball stadium for a franchise of the National Pro Fastpitch women’s pro softball league. Alternative places for the halls of fame with a stadium could be the Medley Center site in Irondequoit or the Rochester Tech Park in Gates and Calkins Road and Hylan Drive in Henrietta without a stadium.

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