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Edgewater Developer Walks Us Through Rochester’s Port Project

June 23rd, 2014

Greg Weykamp, owner of Edgewater Resources walks us through the Port of Rochester development plan.
You’ve read about it. You’ve heard plenty of commentary about it. And if you’re like me, you still have plenty of questions about the Port of Rochester development. This past weekend Greg Weykamp, owner of Edgewater Resources, LLC spent an hour with me on site to answer my questions on everything from the design of the marina & proposed development, accessibility, marketability, and parking/traffic concerns.

In this six-part video series, Weykamp addresses many of the concerns expressed by Charlotte neighbors over the past few months. No doubt there will still be more questions as the project enters the design phase. But his willingness to spend time with me (and my two kids who are dancing around in the background) showed me that this may not be the monster some people have made him out to be external link. But you can watch for yourself, and please let me know what you think…

The Marina

The City of Rochester is already in the middle of digging out the new marina, though I’ll be damned if I knew the lay of the land before this interview. 64 transient boat slips will be included, and the Genesee Riverway Trail will be extended all the way around the marina.

• • •

Design & Character

Weykamp explains how public input is helping to guide the design of the development. He also pointed out to me that the City of Rochester’s form-based code external link dictates much of what his architects can and cannot do. So, for instance, keeping with the character of the surrounding architecture is not only something he wants to do, it’s something he is REQUIRED to do. Try to ignore the people asking for directions to McDonald’s at the 4:10 mark – and with so many great locally owned restaurants right here in Charlotte; tut tut.

• • •

Traffic & Parking

On everyone’s mind these days is traffic and especially parking. Of the 100 or so spaces that have been removed, Weykamp says many of those will be, or already have been, relocated. New digital signs will be installed to direct drivers to available parking sites. And plenty of parking will be built on site for those who use the new development. But beside the point… Do we want more asphalt? Or more foot traffic?

• • •

Market Feasibility

Are we going to be left with a big empty building?

• • •

Change is Scary

Edgewater has been involved in several developments around the Great Lakes. Weykamp is originally from Saint Joseph, MI external link on the shore of Lake Michigan where he draws some insightful parallels to Charlotte.

• • •

A Second Opinion

Toward the end of our discussion a friendly Charlotte resident approached us and joined the conversation. I asked her what she thought of all the scary changes…

• • •

Unfortunately for Jane, those people with open minds who may be in favor of this development are being overwhelmingly drowned out by others. They attend each and every Charlotte community meeting and speak very loudly. If you have been silent thus far, you might consider attending the next meeting external link, or contact the board at [email protected] or 865-6101.

And if you have additional questions not covered in these videos or on the City’s project page and FAQs external link, please drop a comment below. Weykamp left me his card, and I’m pretty sure we could get an answer.

• • •

UPDATE: City decides not to wait for developer; pulls the plug on Edgewater plan. Read more at RBJ.

• • •

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 11:04 am and is filed under Interviews, Rochester Destinations, 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.

93 Responses to “Edgewater Developer Walks Us Through Rochester’s Port Project”

  1. Sue Roethel says:

    You asked for feedback, so here is mine. Last month I attended one and a half workshops and a “walking tour” with Greg Weykamp. This past Saturday I attended two more workshops and part of a walking tour again with Greg. I was very frustrated and finally left the walking tour because I’ve heard all the same spiel one too many times. Greg presents himself as the good guy who cares and is, indeed, friendly and charming. He’s also a shrewd businessman whose company makes a boatload of money by building high-end enterprises on land he buys dirt cheap from municipalities in financial trouble.

    Edgewater has definitely cleaned up places like St. Joseph’s in Michigan, but the public land is almost nil there now from what I can tell. The public access is little more than a sidewalk along the lake and some walk space in between the buildings. The brownfields have been replaced by highrises and rich people who are the only ones who can afford the expensive housing there. That will be what we’ll have in Rochester, so Greg’s right by making the comparison of us to St. Joe’s. However, that project was in a much larger space than we have. He wants to cram three highrises in a 2.8 acre parcel at our harbor.

    In the workshops and tours, it was very hard to pin Greg down to numbers. He circumvented many questions by distracting attention to things like the problem we have of too many mature trees in the park by the beach and the fact that a 6-story tree behind Mr. Dominic’s is invisible when you stand in front of the building. When pressed for a number of how many stories his first highrise will be, he finally admitted that it would be somewhere between 8-12 stories. Call me crazy, but if he’s so dedicated to “listening” to the community about what we want, why isn’t he dropping that building down to 4-5 stories? I haven’t heard ONE PERSON say they wanted highrises or $800K condos!

    Another number he mentioned was 430 residential units, and he said that was a small number to bring in more people. The City wants $$ from tax revenue, and high-density, for-sale residential units is the only way they’ll get it. There never was nor never will be a reduction of this number, no matter how many people cry out that they don’t want it.

    I seriously believe that this is a done deal no matter what the community feedback is. The most we’re likely to influence is a change in the facades of the buildings and maybe what kinds of retail and restaurant spaces get into the final plan. Basically, Edgewater is going to building almost exactly the plan they gave the City of Rochester back in 2010 and have since posted on the corporate website under “What We Do” and “Project Sheets”: http://www.edgewaterresources.com/#!what-we-do/vstc3=project-sheets. The only difference is they’re not getting the parcel closest to the beach…yet.

    I want development and some of the elements that Edgewater has proposed. I just don’t trust that either The City of Rochester or Edgewater will actually change anything that they’ve obviously been planning together for years. Not a very forthright process, that’s for sure.

  2. Martin Edic says:

    Wow, fantastic job. And what a spokesperson! He really has a comprehensive understanding of the area and the issues. As you know, I grew up directly across the river in Summerville and am very familiar with the area and its history, including the history of NIMBY Charlotte natives. It’s great to have such a thoughtful discussion and have it in the physical context. I hope a lot of people on both sides take the time to watch these videos.

  3. Christopher Brandt says:

    These videos certainly take the edge off. He definitely seems like a genuine guy. I tend to think, why not strive for more? Perhaps the final form of Edgewater’s 4-5 phase project isn’t so far-fetched after all.

    Thanks Mike for providing such a vital and open forum for discussion on issues that matter to Rochester. You truly are a community asset!

  4. Martin Edic says:

    Sue has obviously made her mind up that all developers are crooked, lying weasels. But I know several large developers and none of them are like that. They don’t make money in the long run screwing people.

    As for the $800k buyers, take a look at how many lakefront properties in West Irondequoit and along Beach and Edgemere come on the market – almost none and they sell immediately. And those properties don’t have marina access. Two places have sold on the lakefront in White City (a relatively lower middle class area in Irondequoit) for over $600k in the last year. These were not MacMansions, they were modest (1500 sq ft) homes. The money is here for a nice condo with great lake views and a marina slot.

  5. Hi Sue,
    Thank you for leaving the first comment. I hope there will be more discussion. I’ll comment on a few of your points:

    1. You say Edgewater is money hungry and shrewd. Please tell me who you are going to get to come in and build something (anything) without the prospect of making money. As for being shrewd, if you look up the word you’ll see that it’s probably a compliment; “making good investment decisions and exercising clear judgement.”

    I suspect you mean to say “sneaky,” although I have no evidence to support that claim. Do you?

    2. I also see no evidence that access to the river front, port building, or beach/park will be compromised. Perhaps briefly during construction, I don’t know. But, Mr. Weykamp answers this flat out in the first video, and he’s right by saying they are not permitted to build anything without providing public access to the water front and public spaces.

    After reviewing the development and marina site plans, and listening to Weykamp’s answers, I am inclined to believe that what’s there now will be just as accessible, and even more so once the Riverway Trail extension wraps around the marina.

    In addition, I see the parking fields that are there now, and I believe the proposed development will enhance the public experience (AS LONG AS it is built the way they’ve proposed). The rooftop access for the public would be icing on the cake.

    3. Regarding the towers, WeyKamp explains why the extra floors/height is necessary… to make the project economically feasible. If they do not able to build in enough square footage with a few towers that are set back, then who ever the developer is will need to cover even more land, OR build 4 or 5 stories all the way out to the edge of the parcel. So take your pick… a big boxy 5 story building… or 2 stories at the street front, with a few towers set way back. or you can have nothing at all. Personally I don’t have a problem with towers. I’ve spent too much time in other cities perhaps?

    4. Not all of these units will be $800k. But even at $200k or $300k, there are definitely people in our area who can afford that and would be interested. I am one. So between myself and the lady in the last video, that makes two… leading me to believe there are more.

    5. The drawings that Edgewater submitted to the City, and that we’ve all seen, were MASSING diagrams; essentially just to show placement and scale of the buildings. They are NOT the finished architectural designs. Edgewater has not revealed any drawings that show facade styling. That is still to come.

    In my opinion, even those block diagrams are an improvement over the parking lots that are there now.

  6. John L says:

    These are great videos. What a great breakdown…I hope that this all comes to fruition in the way Greg has described it. I really look forward to seeing the next renderings!

  7. John Oster says:

    Many thanks for the videos – we are Edgewater’s local partners, grew up in Charlotte, and are excited for the possibilities. There is understandable skepticism, since residents have been hearing fairy (not ferry) tales about new development for decades. But these guys are the real deal. And personally, I’ll take a few towers over acres of asphalt any day. I’ve been to see their work in Michigan; it’s good stuff.

  8. Sue L says:

    I think you’re easily swayed. If it’s not economically feasible to build low profile housing that fits in with the character of Charlotte, housing should not be built. But by all means, enjoy your 800 square foot, one bedroom condo for $200,000 and don’t forget those property taxes AND maintenance fees. Indoor pools, health clubs, spas and 24 hour security doesn’t come cheap.

  9. You’re making an assumption based on your own personal point of view that this development will not fit in with the “character” of Charlotte. You haven’t even seen the architectural renderings yet. And yes, trading in my house and all the maintenance and yard work for a room with a great view of the lake plus indoor pool, health club, spa, and security PLUS walking to great shops and restaurants does actually sound nice to me. You’re right.

  10. Patrick says:

    We must protect the character of Charlotte! The run down buildings and massive empty parking lots should probably be given landmark status… No progress, EVER!!!!

  11. Matt says:

    Why don’t we do something with the terminal building before we build new structures??? We have a building that already exists and is under utilized and yet we are building new structures??? It seems to me like it would be a better idea to work on the existing building and create something out of that before we go making a huge mess and tear up 1/2 of the area. I think everybody can agree that the area needs a major face lift but it just seems like we should work with what we already have before we build the tower…

  12. @Matt, what would you suggest the City do with the terminal building? Keep in mind they’d probably have to hand it over to a private developer or else lose money on another public project. So should it be office space? A few apartments? It already has two restaurants which are probably teetering on the edge of failure (Pier 45 is gone because business there is so seasonal) and there aren’t enough residents to support those businesses year round. So let’s say we find some use for that space; great. At what point do we address the big area of concern – which is the giant dead zone along Lake Ave? That massive parking lot is the liability here. It produces nothing, and it will continue to be a detriment to the area and what ever business goes into that terminal building.

  13. Roc Fella says:

    I’m more curious about the parking. I know everyone is bashing the huge expanse of available parking that was. But coming from 25 minutes away, I really enjoyed being able to find a spot on the beach during those crowded summer days. I like my car being nearby. I do not like the idea of the shuttle as that carries a fee and I don’t feel as secure. Will there be parking west of Estes Street? It is currently a grass field. I really don’t mind walking a few blocks to get to the beach If I have to park elsewhere.

  14. He addresses the parking. One new lot has already been paved. Another new lot is being built on the south side of the marina. And all users of the development will have their own parking so they won’t be taking up public spaces. First give me something to come TO, then I’ll worry about finding parking.

  15. david says:

    I think this is fantastic. I’m thrilled with the plans that the developer has. I think it’s a great mix and will definitely revitalize the Charlotte area. I’ve stayed at Toronto hotels that overlook the lake and there is absolutely nothing more beautiful than being able to see the lake from a building multi-stories up. And I also love the street-scape. It kind of reminds of the Faneuil Square area in Boston.

  16. John Smith says:

    I’m fine with this project… I think they should get started sooner rather than later.

  17. Matthew Beck says:

    Ok the problem I see is the fact that this has yet to be vetted properly. You might choose to disagree, however with no firm plans, in the form of architectural blueprints, parking layouts, and financing. Until the developer presents yhese (financing was supposed to be in place once the project was awarded not 8 months later, per the city’s original plans) how can the community properly vet this project. Without the ability to vet this project many feel as though it is being pushed forward and their concerns are not heard. This leads to the obvious discord between the community and the city/developer.
    I have read past stories, one on this website, where you mention that the fast ferry was a huge learning curve for the city that it needs to properly vet large scale projects. To the community we are not aware of this vetting. If it has happened then the present administration is not fulfilling its campaign promise of complete open communication and community involvement.

  18. mariangela says:

    I am more concerned about the funding for this project. First Greg said they were pursuing EB-5 funding, now there are private investors and real estate trusts potentially interested. All his answers are very vague and change given the group he is speaking, too. I think development in Charlotte is a great idea, however, I am not sure that we need more housing that is overpriced. How is this going to make Charlotte a destination point for tourists? EB-5 funding is only good for 5 years and then the developer must seek a mortgage. The EB-5 program is under investigation. Greg has assured the groups I have been in that there will be no high rises and they are going to start small and see how successful they will be. An attractive boutique hotel with condos doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Don’t most transient boaters stay on their boats? There are so many details that are being glossed over. Greg’s presentations are slick and he has a way of avoiding the questions. These sessions are supposed to be information gathering, so far all they have been is a sales pitch.

  19. Sue L says:

    These are the same people who are coming to revitalize Charlotte. Not ALL developers go to any lengths to make sure their vision is built, but here it is….she certainly does not seem like someone shouting NIMBY to me. The last sentence says it all- “If it happened to us, It could happen to you”. All Charlotte merchants and property owners should take heed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQFk5V_8Ca8

  20. Jim Mayer says:


    After looking at the video you posted I did a quick web search. Harbor Shores does seem to be an Edgewater development. Without judging who is right or wrong, I thought I’d post “Harbor Shores” response to the campaign that New Products has been running. As you might guess, they have a different take on the issue. Their responses are at http://www.harborshoresdevelopment.org/

    In particular, they claim that the parcel in question was transferred in a tax sale to a third party in 1971, that the third party paid taxes on that property for 36 years, that the third party’s name appeared on tax and property records from 1971 until 2007, that there were no structures built on or other use made of that property, and that they bought it from the third party and that the third party held legal title to the property.

    They offer quite a bit of background information that could be checked and verified (e.g., records of sales with dates, etc.). I have not done so.

    Additional searches on “New Products” and “Modern Plastics” (the original owner of the site until 1969 when it was put up for sale because of failure to pay taxes) reveals the following:

    (1) “New Products” purchased the mortgage loan of “Modern Plastics” corporation on March 13, 2013 (http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/new-products-corporation-purchases-modern-plastics-mortgage-1767580.htm).

    (2) Modern Plastics went out of business and is now in bankruptcy.

    (3) New Products corporation now appear to be challenging the validity of a tax sale of the property in question back in 1971.

    One thing that is crystal clear to me is that there is a lot of legal maneuvering going on and that the video you posted is part of a fairly large scale publicity campaign.

  21. Martin Edic says:

    Jim, I am a former Title Examiner and I can tell you that this is not ‘legal maneuvering’. Every commercial development in urban areas, and most everywhere else, have the same kinds of legal histories. Because financing on these properties is very different than residential mortgages, all kinds of unusual changes on ownership take place and very often there are complex tax implications that drive this. Most developers run their projects with limited partners who are seeking the tax benefits they offer, so it can convoluted. However that is the norm, not the exception, and does not imply anything shifty in and of itself.
    And yes, they are actively selling their concept. That’s what they do! But the Edgewater guy in this video has an exceptional grasp of the dynamics of the Charlotte area and the Rochester economy, which really needs this kind of outside thinking. I have yet to see one really creative and financially realistic alternative plan from any of its detractors. We have a potentially wonderful waterfront that is basically a dumpy parking area with a beach.

  22. mariangela says:

    I don’t think everyone is being a “detractor”. What we are questioning is the feasibility of a project of this magnitude and its impact. Many of us want to see the area developed, but don’t feel that this was an open process to other developers. Look at what “The Reserve” is offering at a much lower cost and this was created by a local developer–not someone from out of town that claims to be listening to the community, but instead is trying to sell us on his original plans. We want to make sure that this is the best option for this area and not turn into another Medley Center and I won’t mention the other huge failure because of poor planning.

  23. Jim Mayer says:


    Actually, when I said “legal maneuvering” I meant the video that Sue posted. The Harbor Shores response seemed relatively straightforward.

    I’ve always suspicious of video PR campaigns. They’re usually aimed at our emotions and don’t contribute to rational discussion.

    As someone who lives in the city, I’m a big fan of residential density. People on the street are the lifeblood of a neighborhood and of neighborhood businesses.

  24. John L says:


    I feel the same. While I understand the concern others may have about over-commercializing the area, the parking lot is currently an eye-sore compared to what it can be. It’s already such a lovely neighborhood, and Greg clearly demonstrates his comprehensive knowledge of the region.

    The key thing is for people to keep the discussion going, especially with the developers, and make sure they are not going to build some tall eye-sore economic bomb. I don’t think it will end that way.


  25. Sue Roethel says:

    This is a very lively discussion of differing opinions, and I’m all in favor of that. What I oppose is the opaqueness of the situation.

    Edgewater is seizing an opportunity that the City of Rochester has presented, so for those two entities, it’s a win-win proposition. Enter the people who currently live in the area and those who visit the harbor to enjoy its resources. That’s the voice that is being stifled and can’t seem to get a foothold at the discussion table.

    Once the parcel sale is complete, Edgewater will have first dibs on the Terminal and Port Buildings. From what I heard from Greg Weykamp and Bob King, Edgewater’s local real estate partner, is that they already have plans for both of those buildings. I like those plans, too! He talked about transforming the Terminal Building into a conference center for weddings, meetings, etc. Kind of what the Robach Center is currently used for. Greg is visionary for sure. He wants to transform the Port Building into an open public market, much like the Pike St. Market in Seattle. He talked about creating an entrepreneur incubator there for fledgeling businesses that could eventually graduate to one of the larger retail spaces. I loved this idea too!

    As I said before, I’m not opposed to some of the elements included in Edgewater’s plans. I just don’t trust that we’re hearing all of the story yet. From what I’ve already heard and seen, Edgewater has BIG plans to take over everything down at the harbor. Case in point: In two of the sessions I was in last Saturday, Greg mentioned what he would do with the park and the first parking lot closest to the park, if he could get them. He’s a landscape architect, so he has very good ideas about greenspaces. But, those comments sent up a red flag to me that he’s already working out the details of how to procure the rest of the harbor. Is that a bad thing? It would be a monopoly for sure, and that’s always a bad thing.

    Waterfront Rochester will become Edgewaterfront Rochester. Do we really want that??

  26. John L says:

    Sue Roethel,

    Awesome comments. In regard to the “Edgewaterfront Rochester” comments, I am not too worried about that because:

    1)The areas along the water must remain public.
    2)They will provide spaces for other businesses (etc) to move into.
    3)If they were to try to privatize that beach or park, people would go nuts!

    My methods for projects (in general) that I have found to be successful is to have an end-vision, and work toward it. That is a broad description, but I’ve found it gives me something to work toward. If, along the way, the needs of the project/consumers (using those terms loosely) change along the way, it’s okay to alter the end-goal, as long as it isn’t some run-around fast-ferry fiasco!


  27. I still have questions about this video Sue posted. All the complaints seem to be directed toward Whirlpool for grabbing land for the golf course.

    The Harbor Shores project is huge with many different components. Edgewater was chosen to be the developer for the Harbor Village component. Am I missing something, or are the complaints from New Products (and the lady in the video) not related to Edgewater??

    Please educate me.

  28. Alex White says:

    These videos are great but they fail in many ways to answer any of the questions I have. I like many here have attended many of the informational meeting where I have asked questions and they remain unanswered. Most important is financing. In the document submitted to the city (http://www.portofcharlotteny.com/about.html) as part of the request for qualifications Edgewater lists their financing on page 26 as EB-5, LIHTC Equity, NYS Tax Exempt Bonds, and possible consideration of City Home Funds. Just to be clear this is Low Income Housing Tax Credits, city issued bonds for their use, and grants under HOME which are usually used for repairs of existing housing structures, closing costs for city buyers, and building low income housing. Three things are clear from this first the public is expected to pick up a large amount of the funding, they are providing very little of their own money, and they do not have financing in place! Further they mention several public projects including a walkway between their buildings which will be built and maintained by the city and an extended river trail which the city will build both at great expense. They also mention how the city will run the transient boat slips probably at a considerable loss as well. This presentation lacks any questions about financing.

    Linked to financing is the question of low income housing. Now both the Mayor and Mr Weykamp have claimed there will be no low income housing but without this they would not qualify for LIHTC. Further he keeps mentioning Town Homes which in the project outline submitted to the city are not listed as being for sale or rental. The Mayor claimed that all units in this project would be for sale but rental would be required for most of the financing they list.

    Perhaps the best part of these videos is the argument that in order to develop Charlotte we need more density. Unfortunately there is little discussion of what density is needed and whether these building will create that. Because this is really the argument for privatizing public park land, that this will lead to a better area than a park. Unfortunately this is not discussed.

    Of course there are the obvious questions about who is interested in running this Hotel? Has any company signed on? What retail has been signed on to fill the spaces planned? Who are the major stakeholders who have agreed to operate here? What about sale of units how many commitments are there? Being this project is largely to be built with our money we deserve to know it is not being built with a “if we build it they will come” attitude. Finally what about taxes at the end. What tax revenue can we expect for our $20-50 million public investment? Will this resemble Plymouth Terrace apartments where owners of $300,000 townhouses pay $133 in taxes?

    In summary this presentation is nice but irrelevant as what we are talking about here is an investment. When you invest in something the important questions you would ask is what does it cost and what is the likely return. What these videos and every presentation I have attended has done is talk about what it look like and that is a very bad way to make investments.

  29. @Alex, these are all important questions, you’re correct. But you, and others who have stood up to speak at CCA meetings, have demanded that this project be scrapped and Edgewater be kicked off the project. So even before these questions have a chance to be answered, you have made up your mind and choose to dismiss everything anyone says. This is what makes it difficult for me to take you seriously.

  30. Martin Edic says:

    Mike, I admire you for wading into this. When I read through the complainers all I hear are reasons not to do anything. Developers are liars and evil, public money spent on these projects is thrown away (do they ever think how many entry-level jobs a sixteen story luxury hotels creates?). The City has the responsibility to invest in improvements that encourage companies to locate here and provide jobs. Throwing money at unsustainable public works projects doesn’t build an economy- you need both.
    I don’t do these public meetings because they always turn into people giving speeches rather than having discussions like the one you’ve started here..

  31. I just want to understand all sides of this story. And right now I don’t think anyone in the media is covering it in a way average people like me can understand or follow. I will be speaking with some of the Charlotte groups soon too. So until then, I do appreciate all of the comments and discussion happening here.

  32. Tiffany says:

    He better not touch the remaining parking lot-which is what he envisions for the future…

  33. Matt says:

    I think the terminal building would be an EXCELLENT site for a second public market for our side of the city. We could have indoor and outdoor spots for vendors and have events just like they do at the current location. Only difference is we dont have a parking issue. It would be super easy to almost carbon copy what has already had been done with overwhelming success and we wont have to give away our public space to a private developer.

  34. Suzanne Phillips says:

    Below is the post I put on Rochester Subway’s Facebook page. I respectfully disagree with Rochester Subway. MOST people in Charlotte are not opposed to development. They just want development that is appropriate in size, of a type that is suitable for a small historical waterfront area and done by a reliable and trustworthy developer. The demand for high rises comes from the City’s decision that they can use these multiple level buildings to sell a 1 bedroom, 800 sq. ft condo for a tad less than $200,000, (with similarly ridiculous expectations for 2 and 3 bedroom condos) and pent houses for $900,000 – 1.2 million dollars as a means of generating more tax dollars. One only has to check out the real estate section in our local paper to see the number of waterfront homes (in Greece, Rochester, Iron. Bay and Webster), with their own beach areas, most with spectacular features that have been on the market for several months or over a year. Two large homes on the lake shore in Webster have both, recently, been reduced by $100,000. These home are gorgeous, have 4 and 5 bedrooms and multiple baths. These are both under $900,000. There is currently a home on Beach Ave. that has over 3,000 sq. ft, is in excellent condition that has been on the market since some time last year. This desirable property is just a little over $400,000. Along with appropriate development, concerned citizens in Charlotte want a developer who is not just chosen by the City because they are willing to put up with City expectations that turn away many responsible developers. WHY were there only two submissions to the City’s request for proposals????? In this economy, with many cut backs on spending, why did not more local developers vie for this job? WHY is Edgewater not able to achieve funding from traditional sources that thoroughly vet proposals to make sure the company is financially strong and there will be a definite market for their finished product??? Instead Edgewater chooses to use funding from the government program EB-5 that accepts money from overseas investors who are able to put up 1 million dollars in return for being able to bring their families to this country. This program was started about 20 years ago when there was more interest in enabling contractors with insufficient funds to “build”, and before awareness about threats from overseas. The largest number of investors in this program come from Asia. These foreign investors are interested in one thing..getting themselves and their families into this country. They have no expectation of financial returns. So people..such as Edgewater..who use this money source, have no problems if their end result is not successful. Roch. Subway person…did you think to ask Mr. Weycamp just how much of “their own money” Edgewater is investing in this project??? Another question Roch. Subway person…how many developers do you know who would not be chomping at the bit to bid on a project of 2.8 acre of waterfront property, that already was equipped with roads, water, utilities , zoning for mixed development with high rise buildings at a cost of $395,000. (which Edgewater will purchase with money from foreign investors). Another black spot on Edgewater..from my point of view..is their involvement with a Michigan project at Harbor Shores. Check out this Edgewater link http://www.edgewaterresources.com/… What is not mentioned on this page is that this land was ‘TAKEN BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT”. Watch this video from the people from whom this precious gift was taken. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6B6hUa_SC0 These people live in a community were the median income is under $18,000., and what has been built thus far on this land that was appropriated by greedy gov. officials, is a golf course where annual membership is just a little under $4,000. And now Edgewater..undoubtedly, using money from foreign investors, is proudly displaying what they plan to add to this Grand Theft!!! So Roch. Subway person, while I think your intentions are good, you need to more thoroughly investigate topics about which you write.

  35. david says:

    Suzanne, you have posted a lot of claims about what the developer is “thinking” with a lot of opinions masquerading as facts. It’s very unfortunate that so many resort to these political tactics to try and discredit others. I generally turn off opinions running around shouting that they are facts because generally, once an argument has gone that path, it can’t be debated with any sort of logic. I surely hope the developers and city on this project don’t get bullied into leaving that “beautiful” asphalt parking lot as our representation of the “character” that is Charlotte.

  36. david says:

    Also, I encourage others that support this project to contact the city and the mayor and let them know you support it. I have sent an email voicing my support for it. Let’s not let the loudest voices speak for us. Those of us that support these projects need to make sure our voices are heard as well.

  37. Suzanne Phillips says:

    David, which of my statements do you consider “opinions masquerading as facts? Please be specific. Also are you a Charlotte resident or someone who frequently visits the beach and restaurants down here? And, finally, why are you in favor of Edgewater as a developer?

  38. Alex White says:

    Mike, apparently you were not at the first two meetings as at these I did ask many of these questions and as usual I did not get any answer. I felt the questions were valid and important and when they were ignored and not answered I decided this was a bad project. If it seems like I am always against development it is because this same things happens all the time and I feel if public money is being spent then there better be some real public good or ownership of the project. As my questions always seem to be evaded what conclusion can I draw than that the project in question is not in the public good. In this case it is easy to question the process which chose the developer, hard to understand how they believe this will be financed, hard to see how housing will create a destination, and there are many questions about validity of the claims made in the request for proposal. All these are red flags. My question to you Mike is when are there enough red flags to start questioning the project?

  39. I am asking questions of the project. That is what I’ve begun to do with these interview videos. And it’s what I will continue to do (as I have done in the past). But what you are doing is damning the project before you get answers.

  40. Susan says:

    Can I have the name of the person responding under Subway and who did the video?

  41. Alex White says:

    Mike I asked the questions of the principle people and got no answers and was even scolded for asking and told that what is on page 26 of the request for proposal did not exist? So what should I do just believe?

  42. @Susan, my name is Mike. You can email me at the contact link at the top of the site.

  43. david says:

    Sue…how about stating the developers have no care about whether the project is successful or not, and that “Asians” are just trying to get their families into our country so the developers are perfectly fine with failures in their projects as long as they get their “money”. That’s a really bold opinion. It’s not a fact by any stretch of the imagination. Secondly, you mention a bunch of homes for sales as “proof” that this project will fail to attract buyers. Again, simply an opinion. There’s nothing attracting buyers to that area right now. That’s the whole point of a mixed use project like this. This project very much interests me because I’m the demographic that would be interested in living in a development like this. You ask about my history with Charlotte? I’ve lived in Rochester my whole life and have probably been up to Charlotte more times than I can ever count. I used to play in a band and would play and visit the Penny Arcade every weekend. I would always imagine what that Lake Avenue area could be like and wondered why it was never developed. Especially after visiting other cities and how their waterfronts have been gorgeously developed.

  44. Alex, first, the proposal document from Edgewater and Morgan are just that; PROPOSALS. They do not indicate exactly what the financing will be. But even if we take the proposal at face value, I think you may have misinterpreted the wording. It states: “We propose to fund the Waterfront Rochester project through a
    combination of private equity and EB-5 Funding”…regardless of what a patriotic American might think of the EB-5 method, these are proven investment tools, no? So we move on to the last paragraph of page 26, “Additional funding sources *MAY* include LIHTC Equity, NYS Tax Exempt Bonds, and possible consideration of City Home Funds for a small portion of the affordable housing components **IF APPROPRIATE**.”

    It doesn’t say “these WILL be used,” it says these “MAY” be used if appropriate. In other words they are leaving all options open. And again, there is no final plan yet.

    I seriously think miscommunication is at fault on both sides here. I don’t know how you phrased your question to them when (you say) they scolded you, but maybe try asking your question again in a different way… “Will LIHTC be used to finance this project and if so to what extent?” “WILL City Home Funds be used to fund this project and if so to what extent.” If you get a shrug of the shoulder, I’d ask “WHEN will you know the answer to my question? Here’s my card. Contact me when you know the answer.” Then politely follow up. That’s all I’m saying.

  45. Matthew Denker says:

    I am hesitant to weigh in on this topic right now, but I think one of the major reasons many local developers did not propose is because of this very situation. I cannot imagine why Buckingham, or Christa, or Bender, or anyone else local enough to know anything about Charlotte would ever want to put their neck out and propose on this project. I can state as plain fact that I, myself, would never get tied to a project in Charlotte. Ever. Just like I would never, ever get involved in something on East Avenue (University/Park), because it’s just not worth the hassle. How was Morgan’s proposal received? I’ll remind everyone – not well.

  46. Suzanne Phillips says:

    Thanks for your response, David. My concern with EB-5 funding is that this source of funds DOES NOT require the project scrutiny required by banks and other traditional U.S. lending institutions. With EB-5, “if” the project turns out not to have been a sound endeavor, no penalties will befall the developer as the EB-5 investor has been given no expectations of return of their investment. The vast majority of developers who take advantage of this money are unable to derive these funds elsewhere. I have lived in and loved Charlotte for over 35 years. Just about every time I drive up or down Lake Ave, north of the Parkway, I feel remorse that this under utilized gem has not, gradually, been turned into the lovely, historical-like area that one sees in many other waterfront communities. But I don’t want to see “development” whose main objective is to provide the City with more tax payer dollars, and is a detriment to the Charlotte area. We lived through the Fast Ferry fiasco, but..thank goodness, that was able to be sent away. If residential high rises are constructed and there are not buyers willing to spend way more for housing than they could get in other parts of Rochester. There are competing residential options in the works for the south end of Irondequoit Bay, high rises along the canal in Fairport are a strong possibility, and in the near future, Irondequoit is planning a hotel and residential options on their side, near the O’Rourke bridge. Also there are waterside/canal options in Brighton at The Reserve, and will soon be available in Pittsford off Monroe Ave, near French Rd. Rochester no longer has the number of wealthy people it did 20 or more years ago. There are far more “high end” condo/townhouse options in the works than there is a market for. As I mentioned in my above post, most people in Charlotte are not opposed to development. We are proud of our community but we are also protective and do not want to see the small area along the waterfront wasted on development (high rise buildings, such as you will not find at Niagara-on-the-Lake and other areas that have persisted in keeping their development true to what it should be) that is not appropriate. We want the City to be more concerned with “appropriate enhancement” than with tax dollars. A month or so ago, since comparisons were being made to the Fast Ferry and this proposed development, I accessed, online, the NYS Comptroller’s Report (completed in 2006, posted in 2007) http://mcnygenealogy.com/picture/histories/rochesterff.pdf As I read through I felt my throat start to thicken and didn’t know if my body was getting ready to cry or to vomit. Instance, after instance, after instance where the report pointed out Red Flags and unsound actions that had been pushed through by the Mayor..and City Council allowing, are showing up in the current Mayor’s course of action. From funding that was questionable, to marketing studies that were not accurate..to allowing changes be made by the “selected party”, without giving that same chance to other competitors is once again going on. On the surface, I can see why some people question our opposition to this developer, but if you dig deeply enough..like should be done with anything that will so greatly impact an area..I think you will understand our concerns.

  47. Brian Sheets says:

    3 generations of my family lived, worked and went to school in Charlotte. My concerns about the current development plan are simple: A high rise does not in any way fit the character of the port. The developer and his plan seem to have been already chosen without input from the people who actually live in Charlotte, and no consideration is being given to the fact they (and the rest of the tax payers) were already burned once with the fast ferry fiasco. Do you blame them for being skeptic when the development process is rammed down their throats without considering what they would want to see? Isn’t it a little backwards to pick a developer and his “vision” BEFORE asking for public input? That’s a credibility issue right there. Speaking of, one thing to keep in mind when watching any developer’s infomercial, he’s in it to make money, first and foremost. Not do what’s right, not listen to other opinions, to make money. As for you Mike, after reading your comments it’s obvious that you’re not interested in anyone’s opinion if they’re not on board 100% with Edgewater….you should work for the mayor if you don’t already.

  48. Alex White says:

    Mike, the purpose of the request for qualification processes is to establish that you are capable of completing the project. Funding is one of the major concerns about this. When I read that paragraph what I see is that we will be looking at extensive public funding as we not have other funding lined up. As for the LIHTC this is the key to me. They project was suppose to have no low income housing and no rental. Then this would not even apply so is it laziness or negligence, or need that this is included? When asked about it Mr WeyKamp first explained how there would be affordable housing then said it was not in the proposal and then stated he did not know why it was included. What I get is either he is unaware how LIHTC work, or he is unaware of what his proposal was. Either way the picture is not one of someone capable of completing a difficult project. As for taxes Mark Gregory stated it was their job to negotiate a package that would bring in the project. When I asked if this would look like tax deals for Erie Harbor (a $49 million project which pays $under $8000 in taxes) he was evasive. My concern is that we provide much of the funding for these projects then give them long term tax breaks and they serve only the vaguest community need.

  49. John Oster says:

    LIHTC was identified as a possible funding source at proposal time; it has since been eliminated since, as was correctly pointed out, it only accompanies rental housing. There is no rental and no low income housing in this phase 1 project. There IS “affordable,” because the City required it and by the way applies a much higher-income standard (120% of median) to the definition.

  50. Thank you John.

    Sue, where is your market study to say “There are far more ‘high end’ condo/townhouse options in the works than there is a market for.”

    Brian, I have been on the opposite side of this administration on several previous issues. Remember the Lake Ave improvement project? I think you were the one who said that one was being “rammed down your throat” too. So no, I don’t take sides with the mayor. But I also don’t share your view that all change is bad either.

    If it helps to understand why I’m not fuming mad about towers, it may because I’ve been to plenty of places where towers co-exist alongside older and historic buildings.

    But like I said earlier, we haven’t seen the finished plan. And I’m not ready to join the movement to burn anyone at the stake.

  51. Benny Bell says:

    Have there been any campaign contributions made by the selected developer’s corporate or personally interested parties to any of the current or past elected City officials? If so, a list of names and amounts would be great for some added transparency so necessary to the Marina project.

  52. Matthew Denker says:

    One man’s scrutiny is another man’s meddling. Bank scrutiny is good only in as much as the bank is in a reasonable position to assess the situation and open to making a loan. The fact of the matter is that there are no parking requirements in downtown Rochester (something that is incredibly progressive for anywhere, there are parking minimums for downtown Brooklyn still). No bank in Rochester (or nearly anywhere) would ever lend money to a development project that omitted parking. Does that mean a project without parking will fail? Is this the scrutiny you want? Want if a project is projected to make a 5% profit and bank scrutiny demands 7%? Does this mean it shouldn’t be built?

    I don’t Mr. Weykamp at all, so I’m not taking his side in this. What bothers me most is how poorly thought out the opposition to this project is. At best it is a concern for character that isn’t there. At worst it’s thinly veiled racism. Can I recommend that you, the opposition, sit down, take a deep breath, cobble together a little bit of money, and sit down with the RRCDC and put together a real plan that you can be happy with? A reasonable pro forma would percolate out of this, and you could then actually move the needle on this.

    Despite the zoning change being the real catalyst for this, you still have the opportunity to provide a workable alternate vision. I do think it’s time to drop the “increase the tax base” argument. The city’s goals, any city’s goals for under used land that it owns needs to, almost exclusively, be used to improve the tax base. Would everyone in Charlotte rather just pay more taxes for the same increasingly expensive services? I invite you to start writing checks if that’s the case. With 4,000 or so residents nearby, each one of you need only shell out $100 to buy the land from the city yourselves and keep it a parking lot.

  53. Matthew Denker says:

    Forgive me, I don’t KNOW Mr. Weykamp at all. I missed a word while checking the spelling of his name.

  54. Tom Burke says:

    Some thoughts:
    • Special kudos to RochesterSubway.com for their in-depth work on this and many Rochester issues
    • Also my hats off to the level of restrained and thoughtful commentary on this tread by all parties
    • To date I am enthusiastic about the emerging potential of the Rochester waterfront
    • My impression is that the city has chosen a thoughtful, well informed developer to carry forth a solid plan.
    • I thought the casual, candid video interview was informative. The child playing enthusiastically in the background was a bonus.
    • I think I understand the concerns of some regarding the details of project financing. After all we are a city with little extra cash and a lot of socio-economic problems demanding attention. For that reason I hope the developer (and the city) makes extra effort to reassure skeptics that the financing is sound.
    Go Charlotte!

  55. Benny, I will look into this. I’ve never tried to look into campaign contributions for local officials so I’m not quite sure how, but I will figure it out. If anyone has any ideas let me know.

  56. Tom, I totally agree with your last point. The City needs to go the extra mile… and all of us need to meet them half way by staying informed and also listening.

  57. John Oster says:

    I don’t know how you look them up either, but I’d be surprised if any developers don’t contribute. We do make contributions to both parties pretty much every year.

  58. Martin Edic says:

    I think its important to note that at least two of the people posting long anti-development rants based on hearsay and dubious web-based ‘facts’ are local Green Party members (a party that has absolutely zero to do with anything environmental) whose stated positions are that all development is evil and all local development funds should be used to fix short term problems in our poorer neighborhoods. While this is commendable, it is not the way these problems are solved. They are solved by creating jobs and making our community economically stronger. Taking government funds and spending them on short term solutions does not accomplish these far more important goals. If you spend development funds on resources that, once gone, provide no long term jobs, that money is thrown down a hole, forever.
    This is pure obstructionism, not a reasonable dialog with both sides offering compromises. They do not believe in compromise.

  59. Brian Sheets says:

    I don’t think all change is bad, not at all. I think the vast majority of people weighing in on this issue are in agreement some development is in order. However, it’s my perception that this is being approached backwards, picking a developer and a plan before seeking opinions. Disrespectful at least, not an intelligent way to do business for sure.
    I’m saddened by what my Charlotte has become…so much rental property, empty storefronts, no more bakery, hardware or drug store, deli, etc. So something needs to be done, all I’m saying is let’s use due diligence when it comes to revitalizing the port and do what’s best for the many, not the few.
    Thank you for providing a forum for differing opinions.

  60. Alex White says:

    Oh Martin, we may disagree but I am not against all development and never have been. I support the skate park and land banks redevelopment of vacant housing. What I do not support is development for the sake of development. One of the previous respondents mentioned that raising the tax base is the purpose of development and I agree. My problem is this seldom happens in any meaningful way. Here are a few examples Erie Harbor an upscale housing complex built for $49 million with over $6 million in city money taxes paid $7,624.83, South and Hickory a mixed use project built for $4.8 million with $1 mil of city money pays $873.28, Mills at High Falls 1 built for $17.8 million with $2.45 million of city money pays $5,706.26. I am not cherry picking this list either as all large development projects look like this with commercial/ office being in general worse as there is a higher public buy in. Sure these increase the tax base a few thousand dollars but for the cost of a few million. Further this sort of investment actually discourages smaller investment as they can not compete for tenets as well. I am just waiting for the project which is fully funded by the developer and will pay full taxes and when I tried to find out if this would be the case on this project people stopped answering questions.

  61. Suzanne Phillips says:

    Rochester Subway..where are the marketing studies re: the need for high end condos and townhouses? Good question as the marketing studies used by Edgewater and the City to suggest there is that need are several years out-of-date and way before the new and soon to start similar “on water” housing was planned. I may change my mind, but, at this point, this will be my last post on this site as I don’t believe most of the people favoring the City’s chosen developer and their high rise plans have done any in-depth investigation and are ready to accept the speal of a very personable salesman whose goal it is to make money. How many of you have gone to the Edgewater website to view their previous developments? If so, did you see any there were of the small size that is needed down here? All of the ones I have seen are very large and work well because of the size, thus the ability to create whatever look they like for that area. And I am not saying “the look” in the large developments are wrong, I’m just saying “that look” does not belong down here where there will be only two or three similarly tall buildings..except for the tall green apartment structure that started out for seniors on land requisitioned by the Fed. Gov. and is now for low income residents. I wonder how much is charged in that tall building for apartments with views of the river and the lake? Probably only a pittance when compared to the prices that are to be charged in the proposed Edgewater buildings. How many of you have gone to Edgewater’s local developer, Edgemere’s site? Edgewater does the design, they will look to Edgemere to do the building. Edgemere’s main focus has been on remodeling old buildings to provide housing for people with low incomes and seniors. How many of you have read the NYS Comptroller’s Report on the Fast Ferry, which sited all of the warnings and red flags the Mayor and City Council should have recognized as a very, very risky investment of tax payer money? Their eagerness to ram through a plan that..had the size of the boat and the handling of the process been more feasible have been successful..cost tax payers over 26 million that could be accounted for. In additional, there were large sums that seem to have just disappeared. Among the Comptroller’s findings were the City’s failure to do their Due Diligence, working with a company that did not have adequate financing in place, and the lack of competition. History is now repeating itself via Mayor Warren whose paid adviser is former Mayor Johnson, the Mayor strongly reprimanded in the Comp. Report., at which time Mayor J. was no longer in office. Edgewater has been a paid consultant to the City since 2009. They and the City have been working together on the type of plan they think will best meet the City’s needs here in Charlotte. So is it any surprise that they are the “chosen” developer? The only other proposal..one that had financial backing already in place, which was one of the City’s own requirements (but the City chose to ignore this lack on Edgewater’s part and is allowing them 8 months to come up with EB-5 funding..which does not require the presales on housing to be built that would accompany funds loaned by a bank) was being financed by Bob Morgan, a long-time, highly respected area developer, who (according to sources at City Hall) the Mayor would not work with. Presales are the way most high end developments go..they want to sell 60% – 80% of the building before starting to insure they will not be building something that will sit partially empty. Due to the lack of presales requirement with EB-5 funding (remember the foreign investors from whom EB-5 funds are derived are mainly interested in the green cards their investment will give to themselves and their families and have been told there is no guarantee they will be able to recoup their investment), Edgewater has said they would start construction with presales as little as 20%. Then IF there are not enough people to purchase condos that start at $199,900 for one bedroom and 800 sq. ft., then jump up in cost to $900,000 – $1.2 million..what do you think will happen to all of this vacant space? The Mayor has said there will be no low-income housing in this development, but do you think the City will let these high rise buildings remain partially vacant year after year without finding some use for them..especially when there is such a need for subsidized housing in the City? I am a member of a newly formed grassroots group called CHARLOTTE Strong. What we are asking for is (1)Ensuring that all community members’ voices are heard by the City of Rochester and Rochester City Council specifically regarding the Port of Rochester Mixed Use Development project. We wish to join the list of other community groups expressing a diversity of opinions and concerns and therefore, providing valuable feedback to City officials,
    (2) Starting the Phase II development process over. We believe the process thus far has been flawed and that this has led to the community’s overall confusion and dissatisfaction. We do not want to stop development or the City’s investment in the Charlotte community. We want the City of Rochester to demonstrate due diligence from the beginning of the selection process to ensure the project is being fairly vetted. (3) Requesting a new & different Request for Proposal (RFP) process to ensure that community input is captured before a developer is chosen. We believe the City has executed a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process that does not demonstrate due diligence to protect tax payers dollars and does not forecast market demand for development. In doing so, the City neither allowed a typical competitive process nor an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the proposals under consideration before a selection was made. BOTTOM LINE: We, the community, deserve a fair and transparent process so that the Port of Rochester Mixed Use Development project becomes a long-term success for everyone.

  62. John Oster says:

    Per the 2013 audited financial statement, Mills 1 paid $40,495 in real estate taxes last year, not $5,706.

  63. Matthew Denker says:

    Oh Alex, were it that how the math worked. Let’s think, for a second, about how these numbers really look from the top. Imagine the average rent on all 131 apartments in Erie Harbor was $1500/mo. Basic affordability rules say that every single unit must be rented to a person/couple/family/dog that earns $60,000/yr (already well ahead of the city median of $27k). This translates to approximately $7.86m in income (if everyone can just barely afford their apartment). A third of this will go to various Federal and State taxes (some volume of which will now come back to Rochester, but let’s even ignore that portion). We now have $5.2m remaining. Of this, we can reasonably expect every penny of it to be spent locally (from what I can tell, no one in Rochester goes elsewhere to spend their money). This translates directly to over $200,000 a year in local sales tax revenue alone, ignoring the benefits of the $4.8m spent locally at businesses (who are likely to pay another chunk of that into the city in taxes, fees, etc.).

    This land is economically unproductive otherwise. It’s not like the city is charging for parking at Charlotte. We, as taxpayers, are currently subsidizing the maintenance of this lot. 25% of the households in the city do not even have access to a vehicle. These people are not driving to the beach. They are not parking there. This is money being distributed upwards in the most insidious and silent way. That the table should be turned enough that this land is not sucking up money from the people of Rochester who need it most would be a spectacular shift.

    No one seems to have a problem with the businesses in Charlotte treating these lots as their own private parking while paying the city nothing for them. Is that ok? Is this the rank order of our priorities? Us, our cars, then those people? It’s not ok.

  64. Brian, I’m with you on all those points.

  65. Alex White says:

    John according to the city web page http://maps.cityofrochester.gov/propinfo/ taxes on 310 State St were $5,706.26. I am concerned that there are two different numbers now.

    Martin the problems with your analysis are many but my favorite is the idea that these people would not exist if the building was not there. They would still live somewhere and still spend their income in many of the same places. While some may come from out of the area statistically most would be local as our population is not increasing. Housing without growth is just shuffling people around and that has very little economic impact.

  66. Jim Mayer says:


    As someone who moved into the city I can assure you of two things:

    (1) Most of my day-to-day spending now takes place at city businesses.

    (2) Before I moved almost none of it was spent at city businesses.
    There are multiple reasons for this, but the main ones are:

    (1) I almost always eat out at places I can walk to.

    (2) As a renter I spend next to nothing at hardware or lawn and garden stores.

    Most of the things I can’t get locally I tend to order on-line and that part of my spending hasn’t changed much.

    So, my personal experience is a lot closer to Matthew Denker’s analysis than to yours, at least from the city’s perspective.

  67. Regarding campaign contributions to Friends of Lovely A. Warren…

    A friend helped me figure this out and it’s very easy to do (albeit tedious). We searched this NYS database for (2006-2014, so that would include her mayoral campaign as well as city council): http://www.elections.ny.gov/ContributionSearchA.html

    The search returned the following two lists…

    This one lists each contribution by the contributor’s name and address:

    And this one lists her Financial Disclosure Reports:

    Now, searching through the list and all the reports took some time, but we were able to find no reference to Edgewater Resources, OR any of the principals of that company. We looked for the last names of Weykamp and Schults plus the last names of all of their employees. Edgewater employees can be found here: http://www.edgewaterresources.com/

    Please, someone double check and make sure we didn’t miss something.

    However we DID find some sizable contributions from other notables including AJ Costello, Conifer, Wilmot, Wegmans, Lozniak (former CEO, North American Breweries), Marvin Maye (and TW Jones Development), lots of City Council members, and even Tom Richards. I’d recommend this exercise to anyone. It’s quite fun.

  68. Oh, and no contributions from anywhere in Michigan either. Checked that too.

  69. Susan says:

    At the walking tour last Thursday, June 19th, I asked if Mr. Weykamp would make the market studies available (Mr. Weykamp said he would make them available on the first walking tour also) and in the same breath told me that the marketing studies are not worth the paper they are written on.

    Oh, and I haven’t seen any market study to date!

  70. Ok, so let’s give them a chance to produce the study. He said something similar if you watch the video above about Market Feasibility. He said you can do studies until the cows come home, but the one that counts is the one that comes with the signed check. I’ve heard high-level CEOs make similar statements, regardless of what product they are selling. In other words, nothing is 100% risk free, even if you’ve done the studies.

  71. david says:

    Alex…you most certainly are anti-development. Every large development project in Rochester you oppose. You also opposed the Midtown project. You fought to prevent the city from selling the property to a LOCAL developer because you thought it wasn’t “fair” that it was being sold for really cheap. Even though this developer is also pouring over 100 million dollars into that area. Who should we have waited for? Using your “economic plans”, we could have waited for a couple of convenient store owners to band together to create a gas station there?

  72. Matthew Denker says:

    Market Feasibility studies in a situation like this are incredibly challenging. Any development predicated on capturing people who are not yet there make it very hard to actually study. Think about a new apartment building in NYC. It’s easy to work out what you can charge for rent based on comps and the fact that the majority of your renters will be coming from in NYC. Even though many people move to NYC each year, the number of them moving to your building will be minimal.

    The same cannot be said going the other way. From my understanding, approximately half the residents of Erie Harbor are NYC expats. OK, that’s about 80 people. How do I find which 80 people out of the 8 million in NYC are going to move there? Almost the best you can do is put together a product that appeals to this sort of potential resident, get the word out some and cross your fingers.

    Like most Rochester developers, I believe there is a market for this sort of project. Conifer has seen it, Buckingham has seen it. Edgewater certainly sees it. Alas, investors, and the banks they funnel their money through do not see it (for a variety of reasons). And that’s how we end up needing so much city assistance for market rate projects that absolutely turn a profit.

  73. jimmy says:

    Sue, what is wrong with rich people in Charlotte?

  74. Alex White says:

    I think there is a market for this but just because there is a market does not mean it is the best use for an area or that we should spend millions on this. I also think these projects make money which is why so many get built. The reason I oppose all the large projects is that they get huge subsidies and substantial tax breaks. If these projects can only be built with huge public subsidies then they need to provide some very important public benefits because giving huge subsidies to the richest in our society so they can make more money seems wrong.

  75. Alex, one benefit is that it’d create some jobs and retail activity in our own neighborhoods, instead of out in the suburbs or in a greenfield somewhere. I’m hoping we can all agree on at least that much?

  76. Alex White says:

    A couple of facts. Rochester receives a cut of all sales tax collected on any sales in Monroe County and I believe it is around 1.25% of all taxable sales.

    The money available in an area is determined by salary plus interest plus investment income plus government transfers plus savings spent. Adding people increases this only by what they bring to the area. If a new teacher moves to an area and is replacing a retiree who is leaving the area then the money available in the area actually decreased. In most cases creating commercial jobs only causes other commercial businesses to lose jobs as the available money in an area only supports so much. This is why the state put additional requirements on tax breaks for commercial projects for IDA’s. As a result it is tricky to determine how many jobs are created by a project and what impact they will have.

  77. Matthew Denker says:

    Well this brings up an interesting question: what would be the best use of this land? It’s hard to believe that a free parking lot provides a larger societal benefit, especially considering the ready availability of parking after the redevelopment.

    Also, the need for large subsidies in urban environments is driven largely by market distortions created in the suburbs. These range from easier lending requirements to infrastructure build out to minimal opposition in greenfield development. Do you have any plans to reduce these?

  78. Alex, my point is this location is on a site that is already served by pre-existing infrastructure and is also on a transit line. I would rather see something get built on this site rather than on the shoreline out in Webster or somewhere else where new roads & utilities would need to be added, and everyone who lives/works there would need to drive to and from it. You’re the Green party guy; I’d thought you’d get my drift.

  79. John Oster says:

    And by the way, there is a rail line that runs into Charlotte from downtown and from the Odenbach location on Dewey Avenue…..

  80. david says:

    Alex, your logic about a zero sum population causing tax dollars to leave an area is completely flawed. You assume that commercial projects are meant to only move people around in the area. That is completely wrong. There’s two ways cities thrive. Number 1, they need jobs. Good jobs and innovation. They need big companies and small companies. I know your preferred economic plans are biased against big companies. Just imagine taking Wegmans, RIT, UofR, Strong Hospital, Paychex…just throw these big “corporate” companies out of the area and see what happens. Number 2, a city needs livelihood and livability. Do you think highly skilled people will move to the Rochester area for jobs that are equal to jobs in areas like California or Boston? Would they move to Charlotte for instance? Heck no. But projects like this actually give Rochester character. You increase the likelihood that professionals will actually consider Rochester for equal jobs. Then as you get more skilled professionals moving to an area, and your provide companies incentives for relocating, companies will be willing to move. There’s a reason companies locate in NYC and Boston even though it’s many times more expensive. It’s because there is a large employee pool with the skills they need, and the livability that keeps their employees there. Once you start this snowball, all of a sudden you have momentum in increasing everybody’s quality life. You need to get out of your political shell where everything is black and white.

  81. Susan says:

    Well, at least Mr. Weykamp should produce the market needs studies. How many times will it take to ask and receive?

    Also, if Mr. Weykamp believes the studies are NOT worth the paper they are written on, why does he still refer to the studies when speaking to folks?

  82. Alex White says:

    Mike I do get it and I also would like to see something built but for the price tag of $20 million is this really the best option? I think David made some good points (though I could not follow his premise) what grows a city is a combination of jobs and livability. While these apartments may be interesting to some people I am not sure it make the city more livable for most people. In fact for the most part the only people who benefit are those in these buildings. So I do not see why there needs to be a subsidy for the rich? I also do not see these greatly increasing the livability of the city, particularly when there are already many luxury apartments in Rochester which are available. So lets look at what would increase livability, more recreation options, ice rink, skate park, splash park, arcade, light rail to this location from Kodak parking lots? All these could be built and would help create a destination area. I even think having more concerts or events at the park would also work. How about a preforming arts theater, although this would be way more than $20 million. My point is that housing seems like a poor option for the use of so much public money.

  83. I wonder if that guest essay makes sense to you because you wrote it. You can write your guest essay, and contort information to try and support your view, but take credit for your own work, Lorilyn, so we can have a real discussion.

    You say “great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development.” And I agree. But what you are describing would be the Westage At the Harbor apartment complex on the other side of the river in Irondequoit or the private homes along the beach front with no public access to the water. This proposed development is clearly a mix of uses, including commercial spaces at street level AND unobstructed access to the marina and water front.

    I would suggest that you view this development for what it is: one piece of the entire Charlotte waterfront – from Beach Ave to the O’Rorke bridge. The full picture includes, new commercial spaces along the street and additional residents to support the businesses, PLUS a new publicly accessible elevated viewing platform, a new public plaza, the future marina, PLUS all of the existing elements including the beach, the green space/park area, the community center, the port building, the riverway trail, the existing restaurants, the lighthouse etc.

    Because when you think of this development within the full context of the area, you can begin to see how the big picture starts to match up with many of the points made in the article you quoted from.

    Does that mean the development plan is perfect? No.

    Does it mean we have ALL the elements in place? No.

    But there will be plenty of opportunity for all of us to help shape this and future developments if you are willing to participate. I think that’s exactly what the Charlotte Community Association (CCA) is trying to do. But you shouting them down isn’t “participation.” Nor does it make sense.

  84. Lorilyn “Rosemary Peppercorn” Bailey… you’ve put your essay into a video and set it to dramatic piano music. Terrific. The flag at the end is a nice touch.

  85. Martin Edic says:

    Mike, why not moderate these comments? Continual lying from commenters about their identity should be grounds for removing their comments. We simply cannot have a dialog with people using fake names to promote their own positions published under other names. As much as I disagree with Alex, for example, I respect that he is not commenting under fake names to make his side appear stronger. And I am not talking about pseudonyms. I am talking about people using additional email addresses to enable them to appear as additional people like ‘Ms. Peppercorn’. It’s equivalent to ‘vote early and vote often’!

  86. Matthew Denker says:

    Since I think this is very much related, here’s an interesting little bit about the things people think they own.


    Also, where’s the guy from the other thread in here supporting the city selling off the land to have whatever they want built on it, because property rights!

  87. @Martin, I don’t disagree. Unfortunately I don’t have time to catch everyone. The instances that are obvious and most flagrant (like Miss Peppercorn) I will call out, but it could quickly become a full time job for me. And I think most intelligent people will be able to distinguish truth from fiction. I also have faith that other commenters will help out by asking questions and posting better quality information where necessary.

  88. Matthew Denker says:

    In case any needs some pro-tips about how to sound like an elitist, racist NIMBY, allow me to direct you to this NYT article on this very subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/nyregion/the-battle-of-the-brooklyn-bridge-park.html

  89. A little reality check:

    The SAVE CHARLOTTE NOW group has produced a mini-documentary explaining all the red flags in the Edgewater highrise project in Charlotte and why they think everyone needs to tell the mayor, city council, and state politicians: NO!


  90. Lorilyn, why do your videos have to be sooooo long 😉 I don’t think I can watch this one at nearly 15 minutes. It starts out just like the others. Maybe give us the Cliffs Notes? Also, you should really enable the comments. I learn a lot from peoples’ comments when I post stuff.

  91. UPDATE: City decides not to wait for developer; pulls the plug on Edgewater plan. Read more at RBJ.

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