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New CityGate Renderings

New renderings were released this week of the proposed development called CityGate. Wow, look at all the fake pedestrians. Very exciting!
New renderings were released this week of the proposed development called CityGate. Wow, look at all the fake pedestrians. Very exciting! Here’s my full analysis…

AH HA HA HA! Costco! HA HA HA! CityGate?!
AH HA HA HA! Costco! HA HA HA! CityGate! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA AAAAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Update:

A petition has been created which asks for changes in the CityGate plans, including preservation of the historic buildings, and a more walkable layout. Sign on at Change.org.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 at 8:13 am and is filed under Opinion, Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

26 Responses to “New CityGate Renderings”

  1. Chris C. says:

    lol. I was fully prepared to read a full article here. You got me.

  2. Christopher says:

    That looks like the walkability that was promised!!!! mmph

  3. Now I love you. Nothing more, nothing less.

  4. Nick says:

    Genius. You are Genius. Now to get everyone else to see it that way….

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Looks horrible…too flat. Sad that they are not utilizing the curbside and making it more pedestrian friendly.

  6. Damian Kumor says:

    Costco, who cares it’s just another box store. That image is a load of bull though. All those people walking in, two cars, where’s the traffic light. Besides that it kind of looks like a North Korean painting.

  7. I just don’t know what more I can say.

  8. Martin Edic says:

    Looks like a mall to me. Who needs that?

  9. Renee says:

    I like the addition of the rollerblader. Very effective.

  10. Mittens says:

    “City”Gate is the most abhorrent, pathetic, repulsive and downright embarrassing project I’ve ever seen proposed in the City of Rochester in my entire life. Our public officials should be ashamed of themselves. What a kick in a ribs of a city that deserves so much more…

  11. Matthew Denker says:

    Ok, so while I am not at all a fan of this new CityGate plan, I have to say that it probably doesn’t even crest my top 10 of worst things developed in Rochester. Just saying. It would be good to think of something here. Maybe RochesterSubway could hold a design contest for something better. I imagine some clever prizes could be lined up for it too. Mike, call me!

  12. @Matt, the biggest problem I have with this project is how it’s deteriorated over the past few years. We don’t need to hold a design contest… the original proposal in 2010 was right on. You can see the 2010 plan view here…

    http://www.rochestersubway.com/topics/2013/05/enhacing-citygate/

    It was dense mixed use development and a very walkable street grid. Parking was no more than necessary and tucked away out of sight. A development like this would put Rochester on the map in a serious way.

    When I look at what’s being proposed now, I get depressed. If I lived in this neighborhood I’d be livid.

    “It’s not on the Top 10 Worst list” is not how Rochester should be measuring new development.

  13. Is there a petition to sign or an official to bother or something? This is not something I want to sit around and let happen.

  14. Jessica says:

    HA- You’re spot on! I can’t believe we would replace those gorgeous old buildings with a giant, unending parking lot and a Costco. Does the neighborhood get any say in this? They can’t be happy with it…

  15. Matthew Denker says:

    @Mike – I completely agree that it’s not a solid way of measuring. I was just putting it out there that there is plenty of terrible stuff. This new Citygate plan is only adding to the pile. I think one of the reasons there is not any blowback from the neighborhood is the already suburban layout of the immediate vicinity.

    Thought experiment: why do neighbors generally complain about new development? It’s due to disruption to them. This could be traffic, parking, “those people” moving into the neighborhood, or strain on resources (schools, etc). Now, let’s take a look at the immediate vicinity of this development. http://goo.gl/maps/HFkVm. To the south are the natural barriers of the canal and the highway interchange. There are no neighbors. To the west is the hospital. It is not really a neighbor. Not in the sense that it cares what happens here short of yelling that its precious parking would be taken up if there wasn’t enough built for the Costco across the st. To the east it’s more large commercial buildings that also won’t care. Especially considering citygate is unlikely to connect to their ever important parking. People generally don’t park a lot over and clamber through the woods with their 10lb sticks of butter. This is where it gets interesting. Immediately north of the complex is just a suburban style townhouse development. It has no street grid and provides ample parking for the residents. They are already predisposed to be using a shopping center just like this. The block immediately to the northwest of this development is a massive superblock barely fit for walking. Going further, all of the major roads in this area are already traffic sewers for the southern suburbs of the city. That means there just aren’t many neighbors walking here now.

    I guess where all this is going is that not only this is a bad development, but also in a spot of the city that should maybe be left alone for the time being while higher priority areas are redeveloped. There are also not the neighbors here right now who would be incensed at this. To them this is just moving a costco 10 minutes closer so they don’t have to drive to Henrietta.

  16. @Andre, ask and you shall receive. A petition asking for changes in the CityGate plans has been created. There’s also a public meeting coming up next Tuesday at City Hall. I’ll post more info in the coming days.

    Sign the petition…
    http://www.change.org/petitions/costello-son-development-pursue-smart-development-at-citygate

  17. Irene says:

    If the city can’t stop this, at least they should not give one cent in developer subsidies or tax abatements. Not only does go against everything Rochester is trying to do, this type of sprawl development is very costly for cities to service. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/05/quantifying-cost-sprawl/5664/

  18. Urban Explorer says:

    @Irene: while auto-oriented, I would respectfully disagree with calling this development “sprawl.” It is located within the City of Rochester and near the geographic center of the metropolitan region. If it were out in Victor or Macedon, it would be sprawl.

    @Jessica: the developer met with the neighborhood association and they were overwhelmingly in favor of it. That highlights a problem with neighborhood associations: they are generally a self-appointed, undemocratic group of people who may or may not actually represent the opinion of a majority of residents.

    In the larger sense, it is disappointing to me that Rochesterians are so deferential to big business. I’ve always believed it’s a legacy of Kodak’s long corporate paternalism. We saw it with the East Avenue Wegmans (how dare the city impose its own zoning laws on poor Wegmans!), we’re seeing it again with Costco.

    Heaven help us if IKEA ever came to town… I think citizens would take to the streets with sledgehammers to demolish anything that stood in the way of wherever the Swedish furniture giant deemed optimal.

  19. Kmannkoopa says:

    @ Urban Explorer “how dare the city impose its own zoning laws on poor Wegmans!” — I love it!

    Everything will be fine.

    The City ultimately got Wegmans to cow-tow, so there is no reason to believe that a suburban big box is going in CityGate unscathed. The Rite-Aid on Monroe Ave is another great example of the City demanding and getting a more urban design. I expect the end product to look like the Rite-Aid, a building with lots of windows on the corner and parking behind it.

    The other problem for getting this built, is that it is especially embarrassing that the developer has to redesign the planned development district they specifically got for the site just two and a half years ago. The planning commission is notoriously stingy on such things and I doubt it will receive a positive recommendation to the city council, almost certainly ending in defeat.

    If you can decipher it, you’ll see that the current code allows this to be built in the commercial area (along East Henrietta Road).
    http://www.ecode360.com/documents/RO0104/RO0104-ATT%205%20PDD-11.pdf#search=pdd%2011

    As a member of the Highland Park Neighborhood I consider myself a stakeholder. They must’ve only spoken to the Strong Neighborhood, not to the larger NBN 6 (basically the expanded Southwedge between the River and 490). I’ll be participating as a citizen in the review process and speaking up at these public meetings.

  20. Urban Explorer says:

    @Kmannkoopa: They spoke to the Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association. For better or for worse, the NBN Sectors do not exist in the eyes of the city anymore, so developers are not directed to consult with them.

    The project already went to the City Planning Commission in June. It sailed through with virtually no opposition. The CPC recommended approval to City Council.

    The next and last opportunity for public input in front of a board is Tuesday at City Council.

    Unfortunately, this project is not viewed the same way as Rite Aid or Wegmans since it is not perceived to be “fitting in” with an existing neighborhood. The appropriate response would be to build a new neighborhood, as the plans from two years ago proposed. But with Costco as part of the equation, virtually everyone, citizens and elected leaders alike, is willing to throw those plans out the window in favor of an auto-oriented big box development.

  21. John Kennedy says:

    I’m stealing this, but I think the new term for this should be HenriettaGate.

  22. Mike says:

    I have been to Iola many times photographically documenting the slow death of this site over that past 3 years. Since hearing about “CityGate” I really thought that it was sad what was happening. I was at the Iola Campus last Friday on my lunch to snap some last pictures of the Nurses Home #1, along with the Staff Home #7 & Superintendent’s Home #8 knowing that it was only a matter of time before they were gone, forever. Pictures in hand heading back to work I ran into the demo/engineering crews that were surveying the buildings. I politely introduced myself to them, and cautiously asked some questions. Expecting to be asked to leave, I asked them if they were going to start tearing the buildings down soon, which they said “yes we are….very soon”. I proceeded to asked when, if they did not mind, and they said “we’re taking the (3)small center buildings over this next week” (Dormitory Pavilion buildings 2,4,& 9). Along with that they have also removed all of the glass from the Nurses Home #1, which may be next on the list? Not sure though because I had to break my questions short with them due to traffic on the road. All and all, this location is in its final days. I will be following this as close as I can to capture these final moments of this historic site……I’m sad but I was able to document this place with pictures…….

  23. Matthew Denker says:

    Do we have any idea what they’re planning to do with the decorative elements on the buildings? It would be nice to see them taken for reuse later. Preferably locally, and not sold off to someone elsewhere who’d like to use them.

  24. Mike says:

    Honestly there really is not much left to remove. Some buildings still have a few of the granite decorative pieces but there is nothing internally that is salvageable, complete loss. There has been so much vandalism over the years. It would be my guess that these decorative pieces will fall with the buildings, have not seen any attempts/preparations by crews to remove items before demo.

  25. Urban Explorer says:

    Supposedly, Costello has removed many of the decorative panels and they are in storage. They are proposing to re-use them in the low masonry walls that will screen some of the parking areas.

  26. Mike says:

    @ Urban Explorer
    Much to my surprise they are saving the exterior decorative pieces. I talked with a foreman today at the Iola campus while they were in the process of removing all of the decorative plates, urns and other exterior components from Staff Home # 7. This gentleman was there at the beginning when they first removed the interior components some 10 years ago. He seemed very discouraged that they had been vandalized as bad as they are. He had also stated that they are going to be incorporating these exterior items into the new constructions throughout CityGate. I guess in some small way Iola won’t be completely gone.


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