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Tops Looking to Open Downtown

Downtown Rochester that is.  The development team spearheading redevelopment of a portion of the Midtown Plaza site in Rochester expects to begin work this spring and is talking to Tops about opening a store in the project.  Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management are redeveloping the 17-story Midtown Tower to create two levels of retail space, 160,000 sq.ft. of office space, underground parking, and 182 apartments on the upper floors.  Completion is expected in 2015.


Midtown Plaza was dedicated on April 10, 1962 as the first downtown indoor mall in the United States.  It fell on hard times in the 80s and 90s and was emptied in 2008.  New York State and the City of Rochester began taking the necessary steps to acquire, remediate and rehabilitate the Midtown site for reuse in 2007.  To date, Empire State Development has invested $55 million for site abatement and demolition, along with $20 million from the City of Rochester.

midtown cleared

midtown plazaThe eight to ten year implementation plan breaks the nine-acre site down into seven development parcels with a re-established street grid.  Once completed, the site will accommodate about one million square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail space.  Also planned is public space with the capability for use for as a venue for a variety of special events and festivals.

WHAM, Channel 13 in Rochester has the story about the tower reuse:

“We are working very closely with a very large national movie theater chain to put a 10-screen movie complex in, we are working with several food retailers — Tops being one of them — and another one from out of town. We have several women’s clothing manufacturers and the normal assortment of restaurants, national restaurant chains and a couple bars looking it,” said Larry Glazer, CEO and managing partner of Buckingham Properties. “A lot of retailers who are not in the area said, ‘I don’t want to be in Greece ’cause then I can’t hit Pittsford; I don’t want to be in Victor because then I miss Greece.’ This is a midpoint.”

Apartments will fill the top 14 floors of the building. The third floor will be office space and the bottom two floors are planned for retail.

“We are in for building permits,” said Glazer, who hopes to start announcing leases in a few months and has Spring 2015 as a target day for completion. “We expect to have trailers onsite sometime in March and we’ll start actual construction, late April, 1st of May at the latest.”

Philip Michael Brown Studio has been commissioned by Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management to develop retail concept design guidelines for the Midtown Project seen here.


More on Midtown Plaza from Wikipedia:

Midtown Plaza was economically vibrant, and a center of retail activity for its region, during its first 20 years of operation. It began to struggle in the 1980s as a number of suburban shopping malls opened outside of the city, while the region’s population increasingly spread outward from the city center into suburban and even rural areas. Surrounded by pockets of poverty, Midtown struggled to keep tenants. Midtown’s struggles increased in the mid-1990s when the mall’s two anchors, McCurdy’s and Forman’s, closed in 1994.

During its last years, the mall’s tenants included Peebles department store, Radio Shack, Payless Shoes, some downscale clothing stores, a dollar store, two jewelry stores, a gift shop and a US post office.  Located directly underneath Midtown Plaza was a three level, 1,843 space parking garage.

It was announced on October 16, 2007 that Midtown Plaza would be demolished via eminent domain to make way for the new PAETEC Headquarters. 

PAETEC later downsized its headquarters plans and shifted to a different site.  The wheels were already in motion to demolish the Plaza and the wrecking ball started swinging in 2010. 



Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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