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College Town and City Gate sites are .7 miles from each other.

College Town and City Gate sites are .7 miles from each other.


The massive CityGate and College Town projects are less than a mile away from each other in the city. This has major significance.

Combined, the two projects represent $350 million in investment, 400 apartments, 300 hotel rooms and about 750,000 square feet of retail space.

First, this area of the city has been dramatically under-served. The University of Rochester has 20,000 workers and thousands more students. There are many medical and social services offices in the area. Monroe Community College is nearby. The Strong-Highland and Brighton neighborhoods are dense and rather wealthy. Mt. Hope, Elmwood, South/E. Henrietta and Westfall and major thoroughfares. It’s right off Route 390.

It’s shocking a critical mass of retail hasn’t sprouted up until now. The two projects should complement each other and do well.

Rendering of College Town

Rendering of College Town

Are we seeing a return of retail to the city? The fact Costco is anchoring CityGate is a huge vote of confidence. (Costco, by the way, is known for taking care of its workers.) It makes so much sense to build storefronts near where people live and work. It also makes so much sense to include housing in these developments.

But our community is not growing a fast clip. Despite what the developers will tell you, retail doesn’t create growth. We don’t suddenly have more money to spend when new stores open. Growth is created when good-paying jobs come to town. We haven’t seen much of that. This is why CityGate and College Town may take away from retail traffic in Henrietta. They may hurt restaurants in the South Wedge or Park Ave. or Corn Hill Landing. The bodies have to come from somewhere.

Over time, we’ll see the impact of CityGate and College Town. I suspect it will be positive for the city and could signal a return to the center.

Links of the Day:

– When does “street violence” become “domestic terrorism?”Eloquent essay about how we ignore urban gun violence.


– Why isn’t the New Orleans Mother’s Day Parade shooting a national tragedy?

– There’s a reason Rochester’s Xerox Tower looks a lot like the former Twin Towers.

– Despite what the CDC says, I’m not worried about poop in the pool. I swim 12,000 yards a week and have never, ever gotten sick.

One Response to CityGate & College Town

  1. May 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm bill responds:

    What kind of breaks and sweetheart deals is city gate getting? Both projects are dissapointments because, while good there is activity in the city. They either heavily rely on public money and/or have poor designs that’ll haunt us until their eventual demolition. City gate being a much bigger offender than collegetown in the design aspect.

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