Southwest Quadrant - PLEX (Plymouth Ave and Exchange Street) Neighborhood
The Plymouth-Exchange (PLEX) neighborhood has perhaps one of the city’s most compact and scenic views of Rochester’s downtown skyline. From a Plymouth Avenue vantage point, Xerox Tower, Bausch & Lomb headquarters and the HSBC building loom large over a richly knit mix of long-time residents, University of Rochester students and young homesteaders committed to the rewards of urban living. Each group plays an important role in the vitality of an area that extends north to Samuel McCree Way and Ford Street, east to the curving Genesee River, south to Brooks Avenue, and Seward Street to the west.
PLEX’s earliest residents may have viewed a lower skyline, but the houses they built during the decades between the two World Wars included wide welcoming porches that looked out on neatly groomed residential streets. In the decades after, multi-family house and apartment buildings joined the mix of single family homes. Concerned residents formed the PLEX Neighborhood Association and worked with the City to change building and zoning laws so that when a duplex was sold, it reverted to a single family home.
Revitalization came first to the Plymouth Avenue corridor notable for its “Plex, Our Home Along the River” flags on telephone poles. Between 2004-2006, the City resurfaced the streets, added paving, curbs and a traffic circle while reducing the width of the streets in order to slow traffic. New walks were laid and trees planted.
In 2006, The Rochester Cornerstone Group, Ltd. Housing brought back to the area rows of two-story houses with wide front porches. Carlson Commons and Plymouth Manor Developments added new vitality with a range of affordable housing for both single and multi-family homes.
On the other end of Plymouth Avenue, the University of Rochester built Riverview Student Apartments in 2008. Now, neighborhood residents and University students share their neighborhood. Each fall the University and the PLEX Neighborhood Association hold an ice cream social to welcome students to the area.
The avenue is also home to Ant Hill Cooperative at 960 S. Plymouth Ave, a two-house co-op for sustainable living. Each week members hold “Thursgiving,” for visitors or those interested in communal living. Another new neighbor is the 650-member Church of Love Faith Center on Exchange Street.
Green space in the area ranges from a small resident-created pocket park, Mt. Pleasant Park to the 800-acre Genesee Valley Park, designed by famed landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. Genesee Valley Park contains trails for hiking and biking, fields for softball, soccer and cricket and a 36-hole golf course.
If you would like additional information about this neighborhood, please contact the Southwest Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
923 Genesee Street
Rochester, NY 14611