The City of Rochester has a big choice to make about the Midtown Plaza site. Midtown Tower and Windstream are all set, but the fate of rest of the mega-block is still up in the air.
The mayor would like to see a performing arts center. Developer Larry Glazer, who is doing the tower, would like to turn the entire site into a $185 million work-live-play complex. The Democrat and Chronicle reported:
Street-level retailers in The Tower could include Urban Outfitters, LA Fitness and Bar Louie, the plan shows. A two-story addition along Broad Street was designed with a grocery store in mind.
The central Midtown parcel extending to East Main Street would house large-scale retailers on the ground floor such as REI, the development plan shows, with a 10-screen movie theater and possible IMAX on the second level, and a 100-room hotel rising as high as 10 or 12 stories and possibly a 300-space parking garage either below ground or on floors three to five.
On the corner lot that used to house Wegmans, at Broad and South Clinton, there would be small- and large-scale retailers such as LaCoste and Steve Madden, creating a “street of shops” along a pedestrian mall area cutting between that building and The Tower. The concept shows second-floor retail, shown as a Nordstrom Rack, and 60 to 75 apartments on three floors above that.
It sounds really wonderful and I would love to see this kind of life return downtown.
But a city source points out, “We can’t have Medley at Midtown.”
Translation: What if we build all this stuff and it fails? We would have torn down a failing mall and replaced it with another failing retail complex.
I think creating a mixed use project that includes housing and entertainment provides more of a buffer against failure. But there are many competing projects, including CityGate and College Town. Our population is essentially flat, so building more retail doesn’t create more shoppers. If Glazer can shift shoppers downtown, that would be awesome, but the last thing the city needs is a ton of empty storefronts on a new Main Street.
I’m guessing the city will require strict timelines and tenant agreements before giving the okay to Glazer to develop more parcels. He’s expected to submit a more detailed proposal in the coming weeks.
Links of the Day:
– Frontier is among the “Worst Places to Work.”
– Wilmot’s Seneca County casino looks like Park Point on steroids.
– IKEA is raising worker wages. I wonder how many other big retailers will follow.
– The ethical negligence of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
– What does the Supreme Court ruling against Aereo mean for us? Scott Fybush and I break it down.
– It’s nice to know our state lawmakers are hard at work outlawing “tiger selfies.”