News Release - Midtown Rising Partners Kick Off Demolition Phase

Midtown Plaza
Midtown Demolition Pictures

City of Rochester/Empire State Development 

News Release

(Monday, Sept. 27, 2010) – Mayor Robert J. Duffy was joined today by Governor David A. Paterson, Empire State Development Chairman and CEO Dennis Mullen, City Council President Lovely A. Warren and other officials to kick off the demolition phase of the Midtown Rochester Rising project. After addressing those in attendance, Mayor Duffy lowered an excavator boom onto the south wall of the Midtown Mall on Broad Street, taking the first ceremonial step toward the Plaza’s demolition.

“The demolition that is about to take place will open the door to a new future that fits the opportunities for today’s downtown,” said Mayor Duffy. “In its day, Midtown defined Rochester. That day has come and gone. Now the Midtown Rising Project will define our Center City. We should all take pride in the fact that we are present to witness the dawn of a new era. I am so grateful for everyone’s contributions in reshaping downtown Rochester, especially Governor Paterson and Dennis Mullen.”

“The demolition of the former Midtown Plaza is a monumental occasion for Rochester, marking the start of a new era for the city,” said New York State Gov. David A. Paterson. “Midtown was once a revolutionary concept for downtown, with the first-ever downtown indoor mall in the United States. Once again, Midtown will be positioned as a centralized hub that will be the driving force for commerce and activity, reinvigorating the city and giving the people of Rochester a new sense of place. I’d like to commend ESD Chair Dennis Mullen and Mayor Bob Duffy on a tremendous job for successfully spearheading this significant redevelopment effort for Rochester.”

“For the past several years, all of the Midtown project partners have been working towards this day. While progress has always been occurring, this is when we will finally start to see tangible evidence of that progress and hard work. Today, we will begin to see downtown Rochester’s future unfold before us, which is an exciting time for us all. I’d like to thank Gov. Paterson for his tireless support of this most important redevelopment initiative, as well as Mayor Duffy for being a champion to this effort. I look forward to many more exciting moments for Midtown and for downtown Rochester in the months and years ahead,” said Dennis Mullen.

“Virtually everyone who grew up in Rochester has fond memories of time spent at Midtown Plaza, and fortunately for us, we’ll always be able to recall those good times,” said City Council President Lovely A. Warren. “However, if we want our community to have a vibrant, modern, well-utilized Center City, then we must move forward into the 21st century. While the razing of Midtown Plaza marks the end of an era, I look toward the future with excitement and anticipation, and welcome the new beginning that starts today.”

The City and Empire State Development signed a historic agreement in October 2007 to redevelop the former Midtown Plaza. Since then, an environmental impact statement, as well as master planning and structural engineering studies have been completed; Midtown tenants relocated; Midtown properties acquired; advisory and stakeholder committees created; and environmental remediation and abatement completed.

The Midtown Mall Atrium and B. Forman Building areas are included in the first phase of the demolition schedule, which is expected to be completed in April 2011. Last week, the Sibley’s skyway pedestrian bridge was demolished. The Xerox skyway bridge is scheduled to come down the first week of October and the Chase skyway bridge is scheduled to come down in late October or early November. The entire demolition of the former Midtown Plaza site is expected to be complete by December 2011.

Abatement and remediation of the site began last summer and was completed in September of this year. Working alongside LiRo Engineers, Cambria Contracting, Inc. successfully completed the abatement work, employing Local 435 laborers, most of whom were city residents and thirty-eight percent of the workers were women and minorities. Designed by LaBella Associates PC, the demolition work will be conducted by Ontario Specialty Contracting.

The Mayor also announced that last week, the American Planning Association (APA) New York Upstate Chapter awarded the City the 2010 Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice for the Midtown Plaza Project Plan. LaBella Associates coordinated the City’s nomination and Empire State Development funded and participated in the process.

In addition, the Midtown webcam was unveiled, which displays on the project’s website. The webcam will allow the public to observe changes taking place at the site, taking a still photograph of the entire nine acres every 15 minutes. The webcam will remain in place for the duration of the demolition process. Users may view the high resolution images of the site during any given day throughout the demolition.

The Midtown Rising project website has also been refreshed to include project information; site development opportunities; updated project schedule; construction, traffic and parking information; and photo and video galleries. The revitalized website and webcam are accessible at


News Media: For more information, contact City Deputy Director of Communications Michael Keane at 428-6064 or the ESD press office at 800-260-7313.