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Greece Ridge FeaturedWe are learning more about the upgrades to Greece Ridge Mall. Specifically, the mall has announced which restaurants will locate into a new wing that will replace the Bon-Ton. The restaurants are Red Robin, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Bar Louie’s and a fourth that has not been named.

The selection is underwhelming. It could also be a sign the upgrades did not go as planned. When lobbying for tax breaks, Wilmorite sold these upgrades as necessary for Greece Ridge’s survival. The message was clear: You don’t want another Medley Centre, right?

The $12-14 million plan promised a “lifestyle redevelopment” with “new, unique restaurants to the Greece area that offer a variety of different cuisines and price ranges.” The eateries may be new to Greece, but only Bar Louie’s is new to Rochester. The restaurants are decidedly not upscale. They pale in comparison to offerings at Eastview, Destiny USA and Walden Galleria.

People on my Facebook page immediately said, “It’s Greece. It’s the west side. People don’t have as much money.” While a lot of the community’s wealth is concentrated on the east side, it’s wrong to assume westsiders don’t have the disposable income to support something more upscale. According to five-year estimates from the census, the median household income in Greece is $55,049, slightly above the county average. One-third of households earn more than $75,000.

Perhaps market research didn’t support higher-end fare. There’s nothing wrong with the restaurants going into the mall. I’m sure they will be patronized. But this isn’t exactly what was promised and it raises questions about the future vitality of the site.

Links of the Day:

– Instead of going through termination hearings, the Rochester City School District often settles charges with teachers. It’s very important to note these charges have never been proven, in many cases.

The Canandaigua VA has a very busy suicide hotline center.

– Heroin addiction is growing in Western New York as painkillers become harder to get.

– Their son jumped to his death from a Buffalo parking garage. Now they are advocates for people with mental illness.

– Stray dogs are killed at shelters more in Syracuse than other Upstate cities.

– A robot that looks like R2D2 fights germs at a Syracuse hospital by blasting ultraviolet light.

– The Buffalo News visits the Trader Joe’s in Pittsford to see what all the fuss is about.

Trulia.com

 

Syracuse and Buffalo are ranked among the top 10 large metros in the U.S. for bars per capita. Trulia did the math using U.S. Census data.

The top drinking towns in the U.S. tended to be more affordable rust belt cities, including Pittsburgh and Toledo.

Since Trulia only published a map and not the full rankings, I crunched the numbers using the Census Business Patterns database and Trulia’s methodology.

Here’s where Upstate New York’s cities rank on bars per 10,000 households:

  • Elmira: 8.2
  • Binghamton: 7.1
  • Syracuse: 7.0
  • Buffalo: 6.8
  • Ithaca: 5.4
  • Albany: 4.3
  • Rochester: 4.2

How did Rochester end up dead last?

The presence of a lot of college students doesn’t have an impact when you consider Rochester and Ithaca are robust college towns. One explanation could be Rochester, Albany and Ithaca have better economies and are less blue-collar.

Trulia.com

 

Here is a look at restaurants per 10,000 households:

  • Ithaca: 28.0
  • Albany: 21.6
  • Binghamton: 21.2
  • Syracuse: 19.7
  • Elmira: 19.7
  • Buffalo: 19.2
  • Rochester: 18.7

On this list, the smaller cities with big colleges did very well. Albany has the added bonus of having hungry, deal-making lawmakers.

Trulia found cities with more restaurants per capita have higher real estate prices:

Many people are willing to pay more to live near restaurants. But, more importantly, high-income people have more money to spend on eating out, so the high-cost places where high-income people tend to live can support more restaurants.

That’s certainly true in some Rochester neighborhoods, such as Park Avenue and South Wedge.