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RocLinks 8/13/16

August 13th, 2016

Midtown Plaza Under Construction [PHOTO: Buffalo Courier-Express 6/4/1961]
By Matthew Denker

Midtown (or Midpark, if you like)!

So some people want to put a parkexternal link at Midtown. I disagree with them (see book, Face). But don’t worry, they disagree with me, so if you want a (not a) park at Midtown, someone is fighting hard for it for you. I will be writing at length about it in the next few weeks, so there’s not much to say here. Stay tuned.

Bikesharer

And finally, the city requested proposals for a bike share in Rochester, and lo, everyoneexternal link was interested. I am personally ‘in the can’ for Bcycle, since they are compatible everywhere they run bike share, which just so happens to be my hometown of Philly (and my current towns of Boulder/Denver).

• • •

As always, use the comments below as open discussion for anything in these links – or let us know if there’s a topic you’d like to see us hit more aggressively in future RocLinks. Have a great weekend!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2016 at 11:44 am and is filed under Architecture, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, 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.

9 Responses to “RocLinks 8/13/16”

  1. Carlos Mercado says:

    Two good templates for Parcel Five and also Parcel 6 (kitty-corner from the Eastman) are Country Club Plaza in downtown Kansas City and The Gateway in Salt Lake City. Pedestrian oriented, low-rise, lots of open spaces, no slutty casino, no big box projects.

  2. AMAZING find with that photo of Midtown and Hotel Richmond!

    I agree with you on the park. I’d like to see the City divide the parcel up into 8-12 smaller lots and offer them to developers that way. The idea that this one parcel needs to have one big project on it is unreasonable and will yield something very uninteresting… like a theater… or another park.

  3. Ben says:

    I don’t know why Mayor Warren turned down DHD’s proposal for a six story, modern building with a multi-level movie theater on the top three floors and commercial/retail on the bottom levels. The renderings looked great and I’m not sure how the design “didn’t fit” with its surroundings. Why was she okay with Buckingham building something extremely similar? I have a feeling that a casino/cheesy-looking performance arts venue is inevitable and that we are just getting smoke blown up our rears with the latest proposal deadline extension.
    Either way, I’m with you on the fact that we don’t need another park downtown. It’s funny (funny in a bad way, not funny “ha ha”) how all of these proponents of a park fail to realize that we already have exactly what they are proposing a few blocks away at Manhattan Square Park. Why don’t they concentrate their efforts on enhancing that space (you know- the one that ALREADY EXISTS) instead of focusing on a prime lot for development? In essence, they are pining for a mix between MLK park and the public market. How about entertainment or retail options? Why can’t we have a state-of-the-art movie theater or trendy clothing stores/unique furniture stores? Why does Ann Arbor, MI have a downtown Urban Outfitters when the closest one to Rochester- a city double the size and also with a sizeable college student population- is in the Buffalo Suburbs?
    I’m not completely opposed to a performing arts center as long as it has a unique design and is accompanied by some kind of development that would entice theater goers to either head downtown early or linger after a show.
    I love all the residential projects either in the works or in the pipeline downtown but I worry that, without more retail, dining, and entertainment in the center city, developers will have a difficult time filling or maintaining profitable occupancy rates.
    Hasn’t the downtown population surpassed the threshold at which retailers will open new stores? Why squander a promising opportunity because people who travel downtown from the burbs twice a year had a good time? Can’t anyone just appreciate the fact that it was a beautiful moment but that a major reason for that beauty was because it was a once in a lifetime event? Will the same size crowds show up event after event when the novelty wears off? Finally, will anyone head to an outdoor park in January when there are no concerts and no vendors because recycled shipping containers do not afford the comforts and warmth of an actual building?

  4. Ben says:

    Sorry about the rant but I am pretty much fed up with all of the park talk for parcel 5. And the same people want more green space on the inner loop east project!! Why not just knock down all the buildings and create a huge park? Rochester doesn’t have the infrastructure and isn’t developed enough to talk about green space on the scale of a Big Dig. Open space should be incorporated in a development project, it should not BE the project.

  5. Dan says:

    Still waiting for the anti-park crowd to propose something interesting for parcel 5. I look forward to Matt’s critique to see both sides of the argument. Maybe you can explain why a theater is even being considered?

  6. Nick says:

    There are no longer any visionaries in Rochester. When Foreman and McCurdy built Midtown,(with their own cash) they WERE the visionaries. Often there is talk about the city from heads of corporate entities as to how to improve downtown. They are all in the suburbs and part of the problem. If they really cared at all, they would invest in the city by putting their corporate headquarters there. There are no “movers and shakers” here. They are all in successful vibrant cities.

  7. Ben says:

    Nick: you raise an excellent point and one I have been asserting for years. All of the bigger companies in Rochester have either moved their HQs to the suburbs or out of the area altogether. The Editorial in this week’s City Newspaper makes a great case for the local corporations to move their HQs downtown and I’m surprised companies line Paychex and Wegmans have not already done so. I worked for Paychex in a non-descript, cookie-cutter office building in Henrietta for over three years and was amazed that there was never even a suggestion that a city location would be considered. The whole time I was there, the company was trying to look for ways to increase their visibility while, at the same time, having multiple office buildings spread throughout the county with only a small sign in front of each to denote the company that occupied them. Imagine a new or repurposed building with a giant Paychex logo. That’s daily advertisement for the thousands of people and businesses who live, work, and play downtown.

  8. Ben2 says:

    I work at a fairly large company here in Rochester, any time the topic of “relocation” ever comes up in general conversation around the office I always mention I would love to see us move downtown. You probably won’t be surprised to hear the I am met with the all too predictable “but where would we park”, “the city is dangerous”, “it’s so far out of the way”, etc. responses. There are no real plans of moving our offices that I know of but I expect at some point we need a bigger building, and it seems there would be a riot from most people here if we even considered a downtown location. Sad.

  9. That IS sad, actually. Keep making the case Ben. Eventually someone might listen.

    I’ve worked in both the suburbs and downtown. There’s no comparison. As a worker, being downtown is awesome. Being able to walk to meetings and a different lunch spot every day beats being trapped in an office park any day. I have literally turned down jobs in the suburbs because the location was just that; sad. Location helps to attract talent (especially the young creative types) and I think that may be the biggest argument FOR downtown. But maybe that’s something that can’t really be explained to someone who’s never worked downtown.

    With regard to parking, there is capacity in most of the dozens of parking garages. They’re on every block just about. I don’t know the latest figures, but you could probably ask the City Parking Bureau for stats at a particular location. When I worked on Main Street I never had to step foot on the street because the garage I parked in was (and still is) connected via footbridge to the building where I worked. And even when I worked in High Falls the garage was right across the street. It was a quicker walk than most shoppers do from their car to the front door of Wegmans.

    Most employees never see the true cost of parking whether in the suburbs or city. But it’s there regardless of location. You’re still paying for the parking in the suburbs, it’s just buried within the rent. And even many downtown companies pay for all of their employees’ to have a parking space in a garage, yet, they remain downtown because all-in-all it’s still on par with the cost at a suburban office park.

    And you know, the really smart companies encourage their employees to use transit, bike, or walk to work – saving a few bucks and creating a happier/healthier workforce. That’s another thing you can’t do from most suburban locations (in our region anyway).

    I know the city isn’t for everyone. But once you try it the advantages become pretty clear.


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