By this time of year, the ground is frozen, heating bills are high, and the hardest thing to do on a daily basis is climb out of your super-comfy bed in the morning. But just because you don't want to leave your home doesn't mean that the city around you is dormant as well. In fact, evidence of major activity is all around us and can be seen throughout the city, despite the ground and equipment being covered in white fluffy powder. Recent openings include the 300 Alexander apartments in the East End, the Carriage Factory affordable housing units in the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood, a 24/7 Dunkin' Donuts on East Ave, and a Barnes and Noble at College Town on Mt. Hope.
In addition, early last year we talked about Sibley's, the Tower at Midtown, the Armory, College Town, and new RTS Transit Center - all projects that have been completed in 2014, or well on their way to completion. For 2015, here are 10 developments that will start and/or finish, creating a better life for us all here in the city as Rochester moves into the future.
For Part I, let's start out in Center City...
1. Woodbury Place/Geva Lofts
This one hits close to home and our office here at the Rochesteriat. We've talked about Woodbury Place before and we're happy that it is coming along quite well. Developer Patrick Dutton and crew are almost finished with the Geva Lofts portion of the project, a section of 11 fully-furnished studio units that will help Geva Theatre attract and house top acting talent from across the country. The Geva Lofts will boast polished concrete floors, expansive windows, and on-site laundry in its units that will range from 456 to 564 sq. ft., all within 150 steps from the Theatre itself.
Expected completion: Geva Lofts, January 2015; the rest of Woodbury Place including the Merkel Donohue building will be ongoing throughout the rest of the year.
Interesting fact: Want to donate to a great non-profit, but hate giving money because you don't know what it really goes to? Geva Theatre has set up a gift registry at both Target and Bed Bath and Beyond for the public to donate tax-deductible gifts as a house-warming present for its new lofts. Follow the instructions here.
2. Geva Theatre "Front and Center" Campaign
While we're on the subject of Geva Theatre, they've recently announced an ambitious $10Mil campaign, Front and Center, to upgrade the facility by transforming it into a world-class asset with a redesigned lobby and central bar, including a second-story that houses Entertainment Suites for event space use, and of course many improvements to the actual theatre space including new seating and enhanced lighting and acoustics. Not only will this campaign excite and inspire the 10,000+ season ticket holders and the 16,000+ school-aged children that the Theatre entertains on an annual basis, but this major redevelopment promises to be a major force in pulling in more active theatre-goers for years to come, right here in Center City.
Expected completion: Capital improvements, ongoing since 2010; Interior work to begin later in 2015.
3. Hilton Garden Inn on Main Street
The Hilton Garden Inn at 155 East Main Street in the heart of downtown is taking reservations and is set to open on March 1st. DHD Ventures, the same development company that has transformed The Button Lofts, is almost finished with its $16Mil project that transforms an early 20th century manufacturing building into a 115,000sq. ft., 106-room hotel - all under the popular and well-respected Hilton brand name. Have guests coming to stay with you from out-of-town and think that the Hyatt or Radisson downtown show their age? This may just be the answer…and this project may just get the rest of Main Street to follow suit.
Expected completion: March 2015
4. 88 Elm
Ah!!! 88 Elm Street…not to be confused with Nightmare on Elm Street. Ok, looking at this project through optimistic lenses, although challenging by its own merit (according to RocSubway's contributor Matt Denker, the building is simply a skeleton of walls and windows), we think the project has major potential in terms of a developer building something with architectural significance and beauty here in Center City - if the completed project is anything like its initial rendering. That developer, again, is DHD Ventures, the same team with an eye for style like The Button Lofts on Monroe. And although the property sits adjacent to the embattled Cadillac Hotel, there lies much promise in the surrounding neighborhood with its proximity to the East End, The Tower at Midtown, Chestnut Cafe, and the Downtown Fitness Club.
5. Inner Loop Fill-In
As we branch out from downtown, we all know that the Inner Loop is what separates downtown from the rest of the city. But a portion of this infrastructure designed for vehicular traffic from mid-century of past, has worn out its stay and is ready for an uplift, literally. The first mounds of gravel have been set and we're sure work will ramp up in the next couple of months. Entire neighborhoods will be once again connected, and even created, with this $20+Mil project. Center City will be rejoined with the rest of the city from its moat, and places like Roc Brewing Co. will have something more interesting to look out to as developers plan housing, bike paths, and other retail establishments to complement the area.
Expected completion: 2017
Jason is co-Founder and Editor of the Rochesteriat. He loves city living, city-culture, and all the new energy happening in downtown. There are many moving parts to our city's recent transformation…give them time and patience to evolve, and we'll see a completely new city in 5 years time. Check out more @JaySchwingle or Facebook.