New Complex Adds to Rochester's Downtown Resurgence

HUD Provides $5.9 Million in CDBG Funding

[Photo: Buffalo Field Office Director Joan Spilman (at end) lends a hand at the groundbreaking]
Buffalo Field Office Director Joan Spilman (at end) lends a hand at the groundbreaking

Nearly 50 years after Midtown Plaza first opened in downtown Rochester, city, state and federal officials recently gathered to celebrate the rebirth of Midtown with a groundbreaking for a company attracted to the many splendors of the city. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Mayor Thomas Richards and County Executive Maggie Brooks today joined Pike Company Chairman and CEO Tom Judson, Rochester Gas & Electric President Mark Lynch, HUD Buffalo Field Office Director Joan Spilman, and Windstream Corp. President and CEO Jeff Gardner all gathered to celebrate the start of construction on Windstream's new facility at the former Seneca Building. Pike is investing $19 million to redevelop the building for Windstream and other prospective companies.

The project is the first private development to take hold on the Midtown Rising site after Windstream acquired PAETEC Holding Corp. last year.

"These 335 good-paying Windstream jobs are going to be the anchor of Rochester's downtown development. With Windstream paving the way, we're set to turn the defunct Midtown site from a blight that chased away new development to the cornerstone of downtown's redevelopment," said Schumer. "I'm thrilled to be a part of today's groundbreaking, and will continue to do anything and everything I can to grow the Midtown area and help bring downtown back to its glory days."

Once Pike's reconstruction of the 109,000-square-foot former Seneca Building is complete, Windstream will house up to 335 employees on two of the building's three floors, comprising 66,667 square feet. Windstream also will maintain an office in Perinton.

New York State provided $55 million for the Midtown Rising project, $44 million of which was used for the asbestos remediation and demolition of six buildings covering more than eight acres that make up the Midtown site. Construction work will be under way this year in the underground service tunnel and 1,800-vehicle underground garage. Above ground, a new street grid, sidewalks and lighting are planned as is the preparation of the remaining development parcels and the public space with the remaining $11 million grant from New York State.

In September, with support from Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the City secured a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration which is in addition to $1.36 million in federal funding that Senator Schumer secured in 2010 to build new infrastructure and access roads to make the nearly nine-acre Midtown site shovel-ready for new private development. In 2009, Congresswoman Slaughter and Schumer also secured $950,000 for planning and development of the site, while Gillibrand secured $340,000 for demolition and remediation.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $5.9 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to help finance the Seneca Building redevelopment.

"Redevelopment of our urban centers is at the heart of what HUD is all about," Spilman said. "Cities across upstate New York, including Rochester, have numerous revitalization projects under way, and HUD is here to assist in any way we can."

The total investment in the Midtown Rising Project, including acquisition, relocation, demolition, infrastructure, rehabilitation of the garage, and the redevelopment of the Seneca Building, is more than $122 million. The new facility is expected to be completed by late summer 2013.


Content Archived: May 21, 2014