News Release - Mayor, Partners Celebrate Completion of Inner Loop East Transformation Project

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren joined a host of federal, state and local leaders to celebrate the completion of the public-construction phase of Inner Loop East Transportation Project.

“The moat is gone,” said Mayor Warren. “Thanks to the support of our many partners, the barrier that once separated Downtown Rochester from our southeast neighborhoods has been replaced by a pedestrian and bicycle friendly complete street and six acres of real estate that is already creating jobs and driving economic activity. The Inner Loop East Transformation Project is already generating investments that are advancing our efforts to create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said: “The day we broke ground on the removing the Inner Loop I said ‘if we fill it, they will come’ and today as we cut the ribbon on the complete project that is exactly what is happening. We’ve filled in the former Inner Loop ‘moat’ with millions of dollars in new economic development and hundreds of jobs. Where the Inner Loop once was will now be filled with new retail stores, apartments, condos, a hotel, and an expanded Strong Museum that will be a magnet drawing new tourists to Rochester from far and wide. The $16.5 million federal transportation grant I helped secure in 2013 to finally green-light the Inner Loop fill-in and make this construction project a reality has removed a huge barrier that had hampered investment for decades. In its place we’ve created a new canvass on which Rochester is now painting its economic development masterpiece. On this canvas, we are now reshaping and creating the new face of Rochester that will drive Downtown development to new heights for decades to come.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “I'm thrilled to join Mayor Lovely Warren in announcing that the Inner Loop Transformation Project is now complete. This is outstanding news for Rochester, and I was proud to fight for the federal funds that let this important project go forward. I hope the transformation of the Inner Loop can serve as a model for communities all over our state that are looking for ways to redevelop, improve life for their residents, and attract more businesses and more good-paying jobs.”

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25), said: “A few weeks ago, I met with business leaders who are already benefiting from this project. There will certainly be more to come. I’m proud to have secured the federal funding necessary to make this transformation a reality. For more than 50 years, Rochester neighborhoods have been separated by the Inner Loop, hurting residents and businesses alike. Now, that is finally coming to an end with the completion of this project today. This is an example of an infrastructure project that will pay dividends for years to come, improving economic development and strengthening our economy while finally uniting our community.”

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said: “The Inner Loop East Transportation Project builds on our work to spur renewal and revitalization in Rochester through state-of-the-art infrastructure investments. I applaud the completion of this project, which will support job creation and economic development in the community, and congratulate Mayor Warren and the local leaders who helped make this project a reality.”

Assemblymember David Gantt said: “The completion of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project is a significant step toward our shared goal of making Rochester more accessible and economically vibrant. I congratulate Mayor Warren for her dedication and vision.”

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said: “Monroe County is happy to join the City of Rochester in celebrating the completion of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project. Knowing a strong Downtown contributes to an even stronger Monroe County, I am pleased that this project will help to grow jobs and attract investment in the very heart of our community.”

New York State Senator Joseph Robach said: “I am pleased to join with my colleagues in government as we celebrate the completion of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project and the grand reopening of Union Street. Certainly, this project has and will change the way in which residents live and work on the Rochester’s east side. I was proud to help to secure the funding for this project and look forward to seeing the continued changes as the community takes advantage of greater connectivity between neighborhoods and new and exciting development opportunities.”

State Senator Richard Funke said: “The completion of this section of the Inner Loop provides new economic opportunities in the heart of the East End. Having worked on East Avenue for the better part of my life, it is great to see the positive changes this project is already bringing to the area, with repaved roads and new traffic patterns, and I look forward to seeing the private development on the new space. The completion and beautification of this section of the Inner Loop gives the East End valuable space next to one of our area’s largest tourist attractions, The Strong Museum of Play. It will be nice to see this area continue to develop and grow.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said: “Our Downtown community is experiencing a significant revitalization and the completion of the Inner Loop East project is a critical component of that transformation. I have been proud to support the City’s efforts and I am pleased that the Assembly was able to secure critical funding that helped this project become reality. I am grateful to Mayor Warren for spearheading this effort, as well as our many partners at the federal, state, and local levels for their continued support of this project and tireless advocacy of our community.”

Assemblymember Harry Bronson said: “Today marks the beginning of bridging our neighborhoods. As we mark the end of the construction of phase one of the Inner Loop Project, we also celebrate the connection of Downtown to its neighbors to the south and east to the heart of our city. I applaud Congresswomen Slaughter for her dogged determination in seeing this project through, Mayor Warren and her team for keeping the project moving forward and my colleagues in State government for ensuring that we were able to support the final mile. I, like all Rochesterians, am looking forward to a loop-less future.”

City Council President Loretta Scott said: “Today is a historic day for our city with the completion of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project. The reconnection that this brings to the surrounding neighborhoods, the economic development, and overall vitality and excitement that it adds to our great City is something to truly celebrate. I look forward to seeing this area continue to grow and flourish as the housing projects planned and the Strong Museum expansion come online.”

The public construction phase of the Inner Loop East Transformation Project eliminated a 2/3-mile segment of the Inner Loop Expressway on the east side of Downtown between Monroe Avenue and Charlotte Street and replaced it with a “complete street,” designed to accommodate a wide range of users in an urban environment. A new ramp runs below East Main Street to connect Union Street to the remaining northern section of the Inner Loop.
The new streetscape increases traffic safety, reconnects neighborhoods with the Center City and increases the potential for economic activity in one of the city’s most sought after commercial areas. Removing the highway created roughly six acres of developable land, which will increase local tax revenues, create jobs, generate private investment and reduce the highway maintenance costs by about $1 million a year.

The completion of the public construction marks the transition to the private construction phase. Developers are already moving forward with projects on four Inner Loop development sites.

These projects include a 100,000 square foot expansion of the Strong Museum accompanied by the construction of a 150 all-suites hotel, residential units and retail space. This new “Neighborhood of Play” near Monroe Avenue will expand the museum’s visitor reach to Cleveland and Toronto and create 500 construction jobs and 127 permanent jobs.

The Morgan and Christa companies are making progress with a mixed-use development that will include 120 rental units, retail and office space and a public open space along a stretch of East Avenue that was once a bridge over the Inner Loop expressway. Home Leasing is developing 50 housing units on the new section of Charlotte Street, which now connects the City’s East End entertainment district to the Neighborhood of the Arts.

The construction phase of the Inner Loop East Transformation began in November 2014. Catco Construction performed the construction project; and Stantec provided inspection and engineering services.

The proposal to remove this section of the Inner Loop dates back to 1991 under the administration of Mayor Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. The project has been in varying phases of planning and design since 2000.

The project construction cost was over $21 million, with $16.5 million coming from the federal government, $4.1 million coming from the state government and $400,000 from the City. A $2.4 million federal grant awarded in 2006 for design positioned the project to ultimately receive a Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund the construction.

With the successful completion of the Inner Loop East project, Mayor Warren is now moving forward with plans to convert the northern section of the Inner Loop, from Charlotte Street north and west to the Genesee River, to another complete street with significant acreage for redevelopment. The transformation of the Inner Loop North will connect Downtown Rochester to several important Rochester assets, including the Public Market, the Genesee Brewery and the Rochester Train Station.

###

News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.