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War Memorial Site

Before construction started on the War Memorial

SMG’s contract to run the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial is coming up. The city put out a Request for Proposals for a management company.

The Blue Cross Arena was built in 1955 and underwent a $41 million renovation in 1998. It gets about a half-million dollar city subsidy every year, as well as $905,000 in hotel motel tax. The income from the Blue Cross Arena is almost entirely eaten up by debt service.

The facility is home to the Amerks, Knighthawks, Razorsharks and Lancers. The Razorsharks, tired of playing third fiddle, want to move to the Dome Arena.

The arena can only fit about 12,000 people for events, making it hard to attract very large contacts away from CMAC and Darien Lake. But it still books a number of events throughout the year.

Is there something that should be done to bolster the arena and bring in more revenue? Is there something lacking in current management? It’s hard to see the city making a change without a significant new direction in mind.

Perhaps Terry Pegula, owner of the Amerks, will submit a proposal. Or buy the place.

Links of the Day:

– A study says Monroe County has poor oversight over its multiple ambulance services.

City children are not taking advantage of free summer meals.

– A football movie starring Kevin Costner as the Buffalo Bills GM will now be based on the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland offered better tax incentives.

– “Milk smashing” has made its way to Western New York Tops and Wegmans stores.

– A Delaware County teacher complains about scripted lesson modules. She’s not teaching a “class of androids.”

9 Responses to Blue Cross Arena Up

  1. March 6, 2013 at 9:16 am DominionROC responds:

    The decision to rehab the Blue Cross arena instead of building a larger, more modern Sports and Entertainment facility is one of many boondoggles by Community leaders. What a horrific idea! The arena is to small, acoustics are terrible, low ceiling, small video screen, concessions are extremely tight and tacky, very narrow seating, and the additional seats that were added offer terrible sight lines. Just about EVERY community in America over the last 15 years has built new state of the art centers…but Rochester decides to go cheap and place a 41 million dollar band aid on a small half century old building. What a massive mistake!

    My suggestion is to plan for a larger,high quality state of the art facility that we can be proud of…and financially benefit from. It will take years to plan and construct…but let’s start NOW!

    • The compounded mistakes starting in the early 1950’s with the location of the NYS Thruway so far south of downtown, the strangulation of a fragile downtown with the Inner Loop, the subsequent killing of a N-S feeder X-way into downtown during the ’70’s and the retail draw of Marketplace Mall has affected the viability to build metropolitan public facility attractions in and near downtown.

      The nostalgic concept of continuing to locate them on tight sights in or near the core city bucks-up against the fact that the commercial center of Monroe County is now in and around Jefferson Rd and Marketplace Mall.

      It is anathema to suggest that a new sports facility should ever be sited in the Monroe County fairgrounds area as was fleetingly discussed in the past. So, Rochester continues in denial, unaware that 99% of sports and concert fans leave their event and motor out to places outside of Rochester for eats and drinks.

  2. March 6, 2013 at 9:29 am Park Ave Pete responds:

    @DominionROC Do you really think we need a 18,000+ seating arena. The best drawing crowd we have is the amerks who only average about 6,000 a game. It would look silly and take away from the atmosphere. Now I agree with you on the cramp concourse and concessions. They should have built a new arena but I don’t think we need a major league size arena for this city.

    Rochester is a good minor league sports town. Its amazing how this city screwed up three sports arenas.. Frontier BCA and the Sahlens nightmare.

    • You for got the convention center: too big for the small ones, too small for the big ones.

      The problem with all 3 sports facilities in ROC is that they were originally planned on tight sites with equally tight budgets.

      The result has been inconvenient facility venues for the functions they intend to serve.

      As for subsidies to public event facilities, as with parking garages, they are a given. If customers ever had to pay for the debt service, cash capital improvements and operating deficits including public safety costs spread over the cost of an event, an Amerks ticket would cost $100.

  3. “We will of course still refer to it as the War Memorial and it will always be a place for us to honor veterans” or something to that effect is what I remember hearing when the ‘rights’ to re-name the building were sold. America sure is good at blowing off those of us who actually stood up for the country by wearing the uniform and Rochester is proving it is still just as good.
    Veterans, the real 1%. Maybe our former Naval Officer mayor should weigh in on returning the name to it’s correct one or perhaps he could get all of the draft dodging Pittsford Mafia types that worship at the alter of Duffy to chip in for a new War Memorial. Yeah, that will happen.

  4. Yep, Dominion, lets just throw more money we don’t have at something new.
    Look, Rochester is basically small-market. The Miranda Lambert concert was well-attended, but how many times can an arean in Rochester draw big market crowds.
    Plan your events on the crowds and entertainment you can draw, and profit from them.
    Yes, the concourse needs some attention. But where the heck do you think you are…MSG.
    If you think that crap is so important, you fund it. Otherwise, stop crying, or stay home.

  5. March 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The Lancers also want to move to the Dome Arena in Henrietta with the RazorSharks as well. Our new Arena Football team, the RocCity Thunder will be playing at the Gordon Field House at RIT, also in Henrietta.

    • March 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm Ben Campanelli responds:

      the Armory on East Main is also beginning to atrract more and more sporting and entertainment events

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