Optimism About Downtown Development
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It represents the changing face of downtown.
"This is a happy day for Rochester,” said Ben Kendig, developer.
Or so city leaders hope. It’s The grand opening of new office and living space at 44 Exchange Boulevard.
"We know this never would have happened without a vision, leadership and follow-through," Kendig said.
The building had been empty for more than a decade. It used to house the old Central Trust Company, sold in the early 90s, and headed up then by the city's current Business Development Commissioner, Carlos Carballada.
"This is really a wonderful thing for me to see this building once again, to have life, people, vibrancy,” Carballada said.
44 Exchange offers spacious living quarters, with spectacular downtown views. It's one of 27 downtown buildings renovated for similar use since 2000, driving an 11 percent increase in the downtown Rochester population over that time.
“That’s huge,” said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation. "It's changing the dynamic. You're seeing people out walking their dogs, jogging. The environment is that you're seeing 5,000 people plus living downtown, and that's changing everything."
City leaders say as the demand for downtown housing grows, so will the demand for retail. There have been ongoing discussions about bringing more retail downtown, including the possibility of a downtown grocery store.
“That's probably going to be the last piece to come to the table, but I think it will happen," Zimmer-Meyer said.
The city will soon release a survey regarding an update of its center city master plan. With ongoing work being done 44 Exchange, plus planned developments at the Sibley Building, as well as the well-underway changes at the former Midtown site, city planners say there's much reason for optimism.
"It's very, very exciting times."