Senator Alesi Announces $6 Million In Grant Money For Rochester Area

James S. Alesi

January 17, 2008

The grant is part of Year Two awards totaling $100 million

Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, today announced that the City of Rochester has been awarded $6 Million for the rehabilitation/restoration of the downtown Rochester area. The grant money is part of $100 million that comprises Year Two funding for the Restore New York’s Communities Initiative (Restore-NY), a program designed to aid municipalities in rehabilitating or removing obsolete or rundown commercial and residential properties, making these sites attractive to residents and businesses searching for new investment opportunities.

"The Restore NY Communities Initiative is a critical tool for creating additional economic development opportunities and improving the quality of life in communities throughout New York State," said Senator Alesi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. "The Rochester area will be receiving $6 Million in aide, which is a significant investment in our community. It is important to stress that this is an investment in our community. This initiative not only cleans up blighted and rundown areas in our city, it gives businesses an incentive to locate here, allowing them to fully take advantage of the tremendous resources that our state has to offer."

The $6 Million awarded to the City of Rochester will be used for two major projects. Under the first project, $4,100,000 will be designated for the Center City Mixed Use Initiative. This project includes the rehab and adaptive reuse of four former office buildings in the Center City District – the Academy Building, the Cox Building, the Parry Building and the HH Warner Building. The project will convert these properties into mixed housing and commercial space. It will create 145 market rate residential units in this downtown market. The four properties are historically significant and currently 100% vacant. It is anticipated that this will increase pedestrian activity and business in downtown Rochester.

The remaining $1,900,000 will be used for the demolition of blighted, City-owned structures. This project focuses on the 2,800 or more "persistently vacant" or abandoned residential properties in the City. A recently commissioned City-wide Study called for the strategic demolition of these obsolete properties. The properties that the City will remove are having a significant negative impact on the value of surrounding properties. The resulting vacant properties will be assembled for the development of new housing.

The three-year, $300 million Restore-NY Communities Initiative was established by the State Legislature in the 2006-07 State budget and is administered by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to municipalities to demolish or rehabilitate qualified commercial or residential structures, making these cleared or restored sites attractive to residents and businesses. Under the program, $50 million was distributed in 2006-07, $100 million announced today in 2007-08; and $150 million will be made available in 2008-09.