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The lighthouse still sits inside the locked doorway to Medley Centre. Called “Irondequoit on the Move,” it features a picture of the fast ferry.

Medley Centre is not another fast ferry, because we haven’t yet sunk millions of dollars of taxpayer money into the project.

But it could go down the same road if developer Scott Congel gets $250 million in state financing for what is now a $750 million behemoth. For that amount of money, you could build the Buffalo Bills a new stadium.

The state bonds would be paid back using sales tax revenue generated from the development. If the project is not successful, taxpayers would be on the hook.

Assemblyman Joe Morelle and Senator Jim Alesi are not comfortable with his audacious proposal, in the works for some time. But they certainly left the door open to future state support. Indeed, it’s hard to see the project going anywhere without state help.

It’s not good to have an empty mall sitting along the highway. It will clearly cost a lot of money to turn it into a “lifestyle center.” There are no alternate proposals. Our area has a glut of business and industrial space. Knocking it down lowers the property’s assessment, which hurts the town and school district.

If Congel wants state help for this project, he will have to answer questions. He will have to go before reporters and the public and explain what costs $750 million. He will have to show us studies on the viability of the development. He will have to demonstrate taxpayers will get a return on their investment. He will have to show he’s in it for the long haul.

He’ll have to prove he’s not crazy.

13 Responses to Is He Crazy?

  1. May 4, 2012 at 11:10 am David Kassnoff responds:

    The proposal is ludicrous. E. Ridge Road is in shambles — as both a commerce center and as a paved thoroughfare — as a result of this “developer’s” weasel-like tactics.

  2. May 4, 2012 at 11:29 am Phil responds:

    if he has 750 million have him put 250 million into an escrow account only to be used when he can verify his expenses. but if the state puts money into this they will be bigger idiots than the city with the fast ferry

  3. May 4, 2012 at 11:36 am tony mittiga responds:

    If the State has $250M to lend, I’d rather it be used to establish a colony on the moon.

  4. May 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm Tom Ingalls responds:

    There is plenty of money to be had with retail at the location. Just need someone who has his own money to develop on site. Needs to be different then a traditional mall. But entertainment/food/unique retail would work.

  5. May 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm Carlos Mercado responds:

    It seemed like such a good idea when it was built. And it seemed to do well as a mall in its early years. It was closer than Eastview, Marketpalce, and Greece Ridge to lower income people on Rochester’s north side, and I think the clash of races, cultures, and ethnic groups scared customers away. Also, more development happened in Webster.

    Today it is a white elephant, and I don’t think there is any public money solution. I would like to hear what Mr. Congel and others think can be done with the land and building. I certainly don’t know.

  6. May 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm bman responds:

    This mall doesn’t need to be saved, its already dead. It won’t hurt anyone to let it sit a little longer until private money can turn it into whatever they want to.

  7. May 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm Stephen Drake responds:

    Congel’s played the Town of Irondequoit for suckers over the past few years, failing to meet benchmarks and weaseling out of paying the penalties for doing so.

    There is no way this guy should be allowed to suck up taxpayer money – our money, especially at a time when we’re struggling with keeping essential services going and trying (some of us, anyway) to maintain safety nets for old, ill and disabled citizens.

    Maybe the Irondequoit Town Board should actively look for a developer with ideas and funding. I’m sure a good lawyer could find a way to use the 2009 Supreme Court decision on Eminent Domain to force Congel to sell – and make way for a developer with the resources to actually *develop* the property.

  8. May 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm Mittens responds:

    Maybe if I could walk down East Ridge Road without wondering if I’m going to get hit by a car, even on the sidewalk… Maybe then I would venture up to the old mall and adjacent commercial plazas once in a while.

  9. Use the dirt set aside by Ed Doherty (to fill in the subway tunnel) to fill in the hole left by the Irondequoit Mall’s removal.

    Price: $250K vs. $250M.

    AMIRITE?!

  10. May 5, 2012 at 11:21 am lynn e responds:

    It is important to say no to this guy. No one needs to address him to answer questions. The proof is there already. Get rid of the mall and make Irondequoit a nice place to be. How about a park? After all this time I can’t see why anyone should believe what he says and they shouldn’t. I think it is ridiculous to do more with him.

  11. Crazy like a fox. He’ll dupe the government out of development dollars and leave us with the bill. How about investing $125 Million at the midtown site? Sounds like a bargain by comparison.

  12. May 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm Greg B responds:

    this location would be perfect for an outlet mall, w/o much investment. the nearest ones are Niagara Falls and Waterloo

    a hotel? indoor bungee jumping? I dont think so pal. not with my money.

  13. Pingback: “Metal Box in Medley” » The Rochesterian

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