News Release - Downtown Rochester Cuts Ribbon on Seneca Building and Windstream at Midtown

City of Rochester - Windstream - The Pike Co.

News Release

(Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013) -- More than 50 years after Midtown Plaza first opened in downtown Rochester, officials today gathered to celebrate the rebirth of Midtown with a ribbon-cutting for a revitalized Seneca Building, including tenant Windstream’s new offices.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards today joined Pike Company Chairman and CEO Tom Judson and Windstream President and CEO Jeff Gardner in officially celebrating the completion of the Seneca Building’s reconstruction. Pike invested $19 million to redevelop the building for Windstream and other prospective tenants.

The project was the first private development to take hold on the Midtown Rising site after Windstream acquired PAETEC Holding Corp. two years ago.

“The 335 new Windstream employees moving into this new building represent 335 reasons to celebrate the revitalized Downtown Rochester we are now creating. The new Seneca building is just the first anchor at the Midtown site, which together with the redeveloped Midtown Tower, will mark a great step forward for a resurgent, vibrant Downtown. I thank Windstream for heeding my call to see through with plans to move to Midtown, " said Senator Schumer. “Today we see the first fruits of all our labors, in what is a truly game-changing investment for the City of Rochester: one that spells ‘jobs’ for its talented workforce and promises an economic revival in Midtown."

“Just last year, we gathered here for the groundbreaking on this project that started a new chapter for Midtown Rising and for Downtown,” said Mayor Richards. “Getting to this point took a tremendous amount of perseverance and hard work by a number of parties; and that work continues. I want to thank our many partners—both in the public and private sectors—who have shared and contributed to our vision of transforming Downtown into a community asset fit for the 21st century.”
Jeff Gardner, Windstream president and CEO, said he is pleased that the company’s employees are part of Downtown’s revitalization. Approximately 70 Windstream employees moved into the Seneca Building in mid-August with the remaining scheduled to move in later in September and October. Gardner said he looked forward to other businesses joining Windstream in the Midtown Rising site.
"This is a wonderful building, and we are excited to honor our commitment to the City of Rochester and the State of New York to be a part of the redevelopment of Midtown," Gardner said. "I truly believe the future here is bright, and I hope Windstream's decision to bring a large number of employees to Midtown will serve as a catalyst for future development. We look forward to being a big part of Rochester for a long time to come."

With Pike’s reconstruction of the 109,000-square-foot former Seneca Building now complete, Windstream will house its employees on two of the building’s three floors, comprising 66,667 square feet. Windstream also will maintain an office in Perinton.

The third floor of the Seneca Building, comprising 37,000 square feet, is still available for lease. Pike Chairman and CEO Tom Judson said he hopes other companies will follow Windstream’s lead and consider the Midtown Rising site.

“Pike was one of the firms involved in the construction of Midtown Plaza itself more than 50 years ago, so our team understands how important development is to the health of downtown and the Greater Rochester community,” Judson said. “We are proud to welcome Windstream to the Seneca Building, and we look forward to working with additional tenant companies as they expand and grow.”

New York State provided $55 million for the Midtown Rising project, $44 million of which was used for the asbestos remediation and demolition of six buildings covering more than eight acres that make up the Midtown site. Construction work is under way on the underground service tunnel and 1,800-vehicle underground garage. Above ground, a new street grid, sidewalks and lighting are under way as is construction on the other development parcels and the public space with the remaining $11 million grant from New York State.

In September 2011, with support from Senator Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the City secured a more than $2 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration which is in addition to $1.36 million in federal funding that Senator Schumer secured in 2010 to build new infrastructure and access roads to make the nearly nine-acre Midtown site shovel-ready for new private development. In 2009, U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter and Senator Schumer also secured $950,000 for planning and development of the site and Senator Gillibrand secured $340,000 for demolition and remediation. In addition, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $5.9 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding to help finance the Seneca Building redevelopment.

The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency (COMIDA) has also assisted the Midtown Rising project with a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement and exemptions of sales tax and mortgage recording fees.

Rochester Gas & Electric also helped close a financial gap with a commitment to provide up to $800,000 for electric service infrastructure at the Midtown site.

The total investment in the Midtown Rising Project, including acquisition, relocation, demolition, infrastructure, rehabilitation of the garage, the redevelopment of the Seneca Building, and more recently, investment in the Midtown Tower site, is more than $181 million.

For more information contact:

  • Megan Connor Murphy
    Dixon Schwabl
    (585) 899-3258 
  • David Avery
    (501O 748-5876
  • Michael Keane
    City of Rochester