I’m in shock the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council listed the College Town project as one of 10 priorities for state funding. The council is requesting $4 million for the $90 million development on 16 acres along Mt. Hope Ave.
The proposal says 50 percent of the retail space of the soon-to-be-built apartment, office and hotel complex has already been rented. Agreements between the college and the developers have been signed. A groundbreaking is set for November. This is a highly desirable location.
IS THIS MONEY REALLY NEEDED?
Don’t forget, the city offered to loan the project $20 million and let the developer pay it back using money that would have gone for property taxes. Tax dollars are also paying for $17 million in infrastructure improvements to the area.
U of R president Joel Seligman is co-chair of the council and three of the top priority projects are for the University of Rochester, including College Town. Since U of R is the area’s largest employer and an educational institution, I suppose that’s to be expected. But College Town, as great as this will be for the city, doesn’t strike me as a project needing a lift.
Midtown Tower is also listed as a top priority. The council is requesting $4 million. For some reason, this went from a $72 million to a $15 million rehab. I’m confused.
The priority projects:
- Eastman Business Park
- University of Rochester Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation (supercomputer)
- Golisano Institute of Sustainability at RIT
- Pathstone Finger Lakes Enterprise Fund (fund to aid small businesses)
- Midtown Tower
- College Town
- Multiple Pathways to Middle Skills Jobs (MCC)
- Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative
- Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (Genesee County proposed nanotech park)
- Seneca AgBio Green Energy Park
The Regional Economic Development Council system pits regions around the state against each other in a competition for funding. Rochester didn’t make out very well last time. The Finger Lakes council is hoping this list gets more notice.