January 2, 2019

New buildings that will reshape Rochester in 2019

Big changes are in store for the east side of downtown in 2019, with new hotels and apartments, development along the Inner Loop and more.

The new construction will focus along East Avenue, but extend over to University and down Alexander. 

What's on tap?

Elm and Chestnut streets
Renovation of the 10-story former Richford (and Ford) Hotel at Elm and Chestnut streets into a national brand, 100-room hotel and salon/spa should begin with asbestos abatement after the first of the year. Developers hope to open in mid-2020.

Work also should start late spring on a four-story Courtyard by Marriott replacing the East Avenue Inn and Suites at East and Alexander.

Neighborhood of Play project

Construction has begun on the Neighborhood of Play project that ultimately will include an expansion of the Strong Museum of Play. Work on a new parking garage is ongoing and the first of five apartment buildings should start in January, fronting Union Street. Officials expect the garage to finish in mid- to late 2019, and a second apartment building and the museum expansion could be moving ahead by this time next year, officials said, with a start date for a new hotel yet to be determined.

It is one of several projects that will begin taking shape along the former eastern Inner Loop route.

More on the former Inner Loop 

Also getting underway in the spring is developer Dave Christa's project extending north from East Avenue: a three- to five-story mixed use building with retail, office, 112 apartments and live/work townhomes and a 140-space parking garage.

Alexander Park

Work on Alexander Park, the old Genesee Hospital site, should see openings of Central Rock Gym as early as February and Henrietta-based software company Mindex Technologies, along with the first 48 apartments, by summer. Construction on the next phase, to include more office, retail and apartments, filling in the Alexander streetfront, is expected to break ground in the spring as well.

There will, of course, be continued discussion about Midtown's Parcel 5 and the fate of a proposed riverfront theater. The next round of proposals for developing the Port of Rochester are due in late January. All of those are long-term projects, though, so don't expect a resolution in the near-term. 

Roc the Riverway
Dana Miller, the city's development director, expects that "really, the thing that is going to get a lot of focus ... is Roc the Riverway, and the projects that are part of Roc the Riverway."

Those include the Rundel library terrace and what to do with the aqueduct, renovations to Charles Carroll Plaza, a new skatepark beneath the arched Interstate 490 bridge, completing pedestrian access along both sides of the river through downtown, work on Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.

Elsewhere on the east side, renovations at Sibley Square continue with more offices and co-work space to be added in 2019, along with an additional 100 apartments aimed at middle-income renters and working families. 

South Goodman apartment complex
Outside downtown, construction on a 100-unit largely market-rate apartment complex with live-work components such as office space and other amenities should ramp up at South Goodman and Interstate 490. Developer Mark IV Enterprises envisions an opening in spring 2020.

"The next year or so is really going to be a record year for construction, also including public works projects," said Alex Yudelson, chief of staff to Mayor Lovely Warren. 

"We are investing in the west side of the river. But you want to look at where the trends are going, where the market is going, and use our investment to support that kind of growth."

Brian Sharp, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

New buildings that will reshape Rochester in 2019