• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 625 other subscribers

Elm St.


Elm St.


If you thought rebuilding the Midtown block involves selling a few remaining parcels, think again. There’s a former office building on the site the city hopes to unload.

When demolishing the Midtown block, the city decided to keep 88-94 Elm St. Built in the 1960s, it has 13 floors and 83,000 square feet. The ugly brown high rise has been vacant since 1998, when the city acquired it through tax foreclosure. The city did asbestos work and replaced the roof, but the building has no operable HVAC and electricity and only some working plumbing.

The city put out a Request for Proposals for the building. The city will only consider adaptive reuse. The purchase price is an estimated $360,000. The city will consider reserving a certain number of garage spaces for the developer.

If the project doesn’t sound daunting already, consider the fact 88-94 Elm St. backs up to the Hotel Cadillac, which is used as a de facto homeless shelter. The city spearheaded a plan to get the county to stop using the Cadillac as emergency housing. Will a developer plunk down big money with the Cadillac – and it’s reputation – right next door?

The Cadillac was sold in 2001 to a developer who promised changes, including closing the bar. Back then, there were several drug deaths at the hotel. In recent years, the hotel has been the scene of fires. Neighboring businesses on Chestnut appear to have cleared out. The area has further declined, which may be due in part to Midtown’s closure.

A similar tension existed between Cascade District developers and the Open Door Mission. The mission made some rule changes and exterior improvements to appease the owners of high end lofts. The Open Door Mission does not appear to have prevented any progress in the area. Nothnagle and Bridge Square are two additions to the neighborhood.

Proposals for 88-94 Elm St. are due in May. It will be interesting to see if the Cadillac poses any kind of barrier, and if so, how the city plans to address it.

Links of the Day:

– A lot of Monroe County agencies do not post meeting agendas, resolutions and documents online, as required by law.

– An Albany inmate died after her pleas for heart medication went ignored. The state appears to be covering up report into her death.

– Schools do not want to be polling places anymore, because they’re worried about safety. This is a solution in search of a problem.

– Matt Lauer wants less tabloid fare on ‘Today.’ He has nothing to say after the reports, except expressing remorse for victims.

3 Responses to Anyone Want an Office Tower?

  1. Back in the 70s, we were putting up out-of-town truck drivers overnight in the Cadillac. It was inexpensive. Had to find another hotel when Teamsters Union complained that the Cadillac was too sleazy.

  2. March 11, 2013 at 9:54 am RaChaCha responds:

    Wait, isn’t this the building that used to house the auto bureau in the 1980s–? Last I knew, realtor Ted Wood and his son had either purchased that or had an option on it and were raising funds to rehab it.

    Or is this a different building–?

    This building would make a great re-skin opportunity, like the Dulski building in Buffalo (now the Avant). But it would need an incentive package — perhaps from COMIDA & the regional council, given that the City is broke (in Buffalo, the ECIDA has an incentive program specifically for adaptive reuse projects). Perhaps the City would have an easier time marketing the building if it pre-arranged some of those incentives.

  3. Rachacha maybe you’re thinking of he nearby building on chestnut st.

    This building is a huge gamble until the midtown redevelopment matures. Right now it seems like the redevelopment will be a salvaged failure. If I had the means I wouldn’t buy this building and I think I’m a pretty big optimist when it comes to city redevelopment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *