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Midtown Plaza closed in 2008. Four years later, the mall has been torn down and nothing has opened on the 8-acre site. Besides Windstream, we don’t know what will fill in the property in the years to come. It remains a hole in the middle of downtown Rochester.

But there is hope!


While the pace of change has been frustrating, I was encouraged to read about an eerily similar scenario in Columbus, Ohio. That city closed its downtown shopping mall in 2009. City Center opened in 1988 and was on DeadMalls.com in short order. City Planners tore down the mall and built a park on the 9-acre site. One-third of the property was reserved for market-driven development.

The new development happened remarkably fast. By the end of 2010, Columbus Commons was hosting events. New development is springing up around the site.

The Columbus story reaffirms Rochester’s decision to get rid of the mall. But Rochester has a ways to go to duplicate Columbus’ success.

Links of the Day:

– Should New York cities be allowed to declare bankruptcy or should the state impose control boards?

– A single before and after photo in the Democrat and Chronicle shows how a neighborhood deteriorates and why preservation is important.

– The New York Times profiled an art exhibit at the Rochester Institute of Technology featuring a cast of colorful characters.

Maybe cities should subsidize marathons instead of stadiums.

Prepare for the inevitable Greek yogurt backlash.

USA Today says it’s better to tip restaurant servers in cash. Maybe so, but all of the reasons listed are not the customers’ problem. Unscrupulous restaurant owners must get their act together. It’s not practical for consumers to carry around cash.

8 Responses to Just Like Midtown…Sort Of

  1. August 20, 2012 at 11:05 am Louis P responds:

    Reading the link you have about Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland they have huge developments occurring right now. It would be nice to see that development in Rochester too…

  2. August 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm Carlos Mercado responds:

    Fascinating story, Rachel. I believe that as soon as the site is landscaped and the streets care put in, the place can be marketed for future development along the lines of the Gateway in Salt Lake City or Alemeda (Country Club) Plaza in Kansas City. For now, the site is perfect for Party in the Park, Jazz Festival, and the like. I hope the permanent development will include a brightly lit Winter Garden so we can enjoy a touch of warm weather during our long winters.

  3. August 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm mrrochester responds:

    While leaving a tip in cash is “not my problem” it makes someone elses day, so why not do it? What goes around comes around. People need less of the selfish and ignorant mentality, and more of the Ill help others if I can mentality.

  4. August 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm Mittens responds:

    I don’t want green space though. Especially not on Main Street. The midtown block is at the center of our CBD, our center city, our county and our region as a whole. The midtown block SHOULD be the epitome of what urban means to Rochester. Right now we’re showing that it doesn’t mean much to Rochester. Lets change that with smart, 21st century urban growth, not a park.

  5. August 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Turn Sibley Building into a new, smaller downtown mall. However, give it an anchor amenity, just like Steamtown Mall in Scranton, PA has its anchor stores, Strawberry Square Mall in Harrisburg, PA has its science museum, and Center City Mall in Cleveland has its multi-modal transit hub. I can think of some ideas for cornerstone amenities for Sibley.

  6. google the “Bilboa Effect”… we need it. We almost had it with Moshie Safdie and REN SQ, but there are forces at play that are against anything spectacular.

    The word “green space” is so 2009. Don’t get stuck thinking it has to be a park in the traditional sense. But inviting trees, pocket parks, well thought spaces, public art, will bring investors and development.

    There was an abandoned rail line in NYC that a few visionary people turned into a little something called the HighLine…..the area has exploded with development.

    Google Bilboa effect… and bring a star into this town!

  7. August 21, 2012 at 10:25 am Orielly responds:

    Telling it like it is, (would be nice for a change) under DEM city leadership, Midtown is down and a hole on Main St remains. Midtown Tower is a rusting steel frame, Across the street Sibleys owes 40M in back taxes with an unsure future with MCC moving out, and the building will be sold at next to nothing and the 40M in owed taxes forgiven. (even though for the last 20 yrs we paid 3+M a year to rent it). ON the other corner REN center was stopped by the DEMs so that side is an eye sore that rots away.

    So out of the 4 corners on Main, City Govt has screwed up 3 of them. We might realize this more if a REP was offering another “view” on city council, or we had local media tell it as it is. Downtown 4 corners at this time is a disaster thanks to the sole DEM party in charge in charge of city government.

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