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– It’s going to cost taxpayers a lot more than originally anticipated to complete Midtown Tower.

Late last year, it was clear there was a funding gap. Christa and Morgan, the developers chosen to rehab the building, needed $2 million from the state to close on the $73.5 million project. The money didn’t come through in the first round of regional economic development council funding.

Now, the numbers have changed. In legislation to city council asking for approval to apply for state funding on a number of projects, the mayor says the city will ask the state for $4 million. The city’s share of the project is $8.7 million. The total cost of the project is now $62.1 million.

So taxpayers will have to foot 20 percent of the cost of rebuilding luxury apartments and condos. Nice. There should be more transparency about what exactly is going on with this property.

The legislation calls the tower the “centerpiece of the Midtown Rising Development.” There’s no question the tower should be a priority. It’s a scar on the city skyline. It boggles my mind, however, that the city dismantled the structure without having a clue who would do something with it and what it would cost.

Now we’re getting an idea.

– Street robberies are up in Rochester. The good news is that crime is still down considerably.

Why has it been 23 years since Oak Hill hosted a U.S. Open?

– Go Ursula! The Xerox CEO says her company would never sponsor the Masters, because of Augusta’s policy barring women as members. Also, Xerox isn’t into golf. Reuters reports:

“The way I think about it is, the Masters can do what the hell they want,” Burns said. “If they want to actually have no women in the Masters, then women and right-minded men should make a choice about what the hell they want to do with the Masters. If they aren’t interested in having me there, why would I go?”

Meanwhile, Reuters has a quick look at the company’s future in the technology service industry.

– Nice work if you can get it. New York State is hiring workers to clean up creek debris for $51.71 an hour.

– There’s a new book about Michelle Obama’s ancestors who were slaves. The New York Times review is very interesting.

8 Responses to Midtown Tower Will Cost Us

  1. June 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm lynn e responds:

    I still don’t know who wanted these luxury apartments or condos. Is there a need for them? If so why aren’t theft private sector building them? There are plenty of houses here,why would someone buy a condo?

    • June 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm Matthew responds:

      Maybe you’re not into condos, but there does seem to be interest in them. The Sagamore on East sold out quickly, the lofts at 1 Capron are pretty popular.

      If the goal is to increase the amount of market rate housing in our downtown core, you’re not going to do it with single family homes on half acre lots like in the suburbs – it has to be a denser configuration.

      As for the subsidy to make it all work, I agree there should be more transparency. I would also argue that we’ve implicitly subsidized suburban development for decades through policy choices and infrastructure spending – it’s just not as direct as we see with this particular project.

  2. re Midtown: it’ll be more later when the contruction manager and the architects ask for change orders for the stuff they forgot or overlooked knowing they’d get it later.

  3. June 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    how about my ancestors they came here from germany in 1905 couldn’t speak english and were penniless, why aren’t they special too.

    • June 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm Matthew responds:

      Maybe they were special – research it and write a book. I’m sure it mirrors the stories of many other immigrant families that came to America – mine included.

      That said, I don’t believe that a book about the chronology of Michelle Obama’s family does anything to diminish the struggles or achievements my family. Am I missing something?

  4. Yo, Theo,

    We’ve developed a middle-class entitlement class which couches its lust for sharing other people’s money in the form of subsidized housing within the progressive concept of gentrifying urban centers which we all know are the only places one can live in a sustainable way.

    You did know that, didn’t ya?

  5. June 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm Mittens responds:

    I’m willing to pay. It’s worth it.

  6. June 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm RaChaCha responds:

    Most development in weak-market cities requires subsidies, tax credits, etc. to make the numbers work (the gap between development costs and returns). But it also helps to have a clue. The 2005 Urban Land Institute planning effort (for which the community invested six figures) was the catalyst for rethinking the Midtown complex. But what the City ultimately did was misguided, went too far, and in fact went way beyond the ULI’s recommendations.

    One of the central problems of Rochester government in the last half-dozen years is that they treat good planning — and planners, collectively — like a nuisance.

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