Proposed Gaming and Performing Arts Center

 Parcel 5 Performing Art Center Proposals

The City of Rochester is reviewing two proposals to build a Performing Arts Center on Parcel 5 of the Midtown Rochester Rising Redevelopment site.

  • The Seneca Nation has submitted a proposal to build a Gaming & Performing Arts Center (Proposal A).
  • A consortium of casino operators and other possible yet-to-be-identified investors would partially fund a stand-alone performing arts center (Proposal B).

Gaming and Performing Arts Center (Proposal A)

artist renderingAccording to the Seneca's proposal, a combined Gaming and Performing Arts Center (GPAC) has the potential to create thousands of good-paying, permanent  jobs in Downtown Rochester in three areas:

  • The Gaming Center;
  • The Performing Arts Center;
  • Nearby businesses that will experience increased traffic generated by the GPAC.
    • Hundreds of construction jobs would also be created. Through the use of Project Labor Agreements (including M/WBE targets), these construction jobs would be filled by members of the local building trades unions.

The Seneca have pledged to ensure that a majority of these jobs will go to residents of Rochester's most-challenged neighborhoods, including 14607, 14611, 14621 and all the neighborhoods identified with the area known as "the Crescent." A significant portion of these jobs would go to women and minority residents using pre-determined benchmarks.

Will work with local workforce development agencies, such as the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center to create career-training programs in such fields as gaming and hospitality.

The Proposal 

  • Combine a state-of-the-art, 3000-seat Performing Arts Center (PAC) with a gaming-entertainment center.
  • Embrace civic and cultural presence with extroverted architecture that enhances the Downtown streetscape.
  • Provide a catalyst for Downtown development. Serve as a Main Street anchor to attract increased traffic to the Center City and benefit other businesses.

The Performing Arts Center 

  • The Seneca Proposal calls for building a combined gaming center with a 3,000-seat Performing Arts Center entirely with Seneca funds.
  • Performing Arts Center could host up to 150 shows a year, including Broadway plays and concerts.
  • Could be used in conjunction with events at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center,  Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial; performance halls at Eastman Theatre.
  • Could be venue for Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
  • Mechanism to capitalize on Upstate New York Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, which offers a tax incentive to reimburse 25 percent of the production costs for touring productions. This tax credit was developed specifically to create jobs in such fields as building trades, theater operations, retail and hospitality.

Urban Gaming Center 

  • The GPAC would not have a hotel or a signature franchise restaurant.
  • Building design would include expansive windows that will give those inside a view of Downtown.
  • At night, the lights inside the center would project outward, serving as a lantern that would illuminate the streetscape and highlight the hustle and bustle of our Center City.
  • Street-level artwork, street furniture and landscaping will enhances the public space around it.  

Seneca Buffalo Creek 

Seneca Buffalo Creek, opened by Seneca in 2013 in downtown Buffalo, provides a point of reference for a gaming center in Rochester.

 Economic Impact  

  • 492 permanent jobs so far.
  • 88 percent in Erie County.
  • Average salary: $37,600.
  • Average annual compensation: $18.5 million.
  • 2,600 direct and indirect jobs.
  • $131 million in direct and indirect spending on goods and services.
  • More than $12 million currently goes to Rochester-area vendors (a number expected to rise sharply with a facility sited in Rochester).
  • Buffalo received $33 million since 2013.
  • $3 million integrated marketing partnership with VisitBuffalo to attract tourist from outside Buffalo region.

Workforce Diversity 

  • 31 percent of Seneca workforce are minorities.
  • 47 percent of Buffalo Creek workforce are minorities.
  • 60 percent of team members reside in areas with high rates of unemployment.

Workplace Environment 

  • Benefits include:
    • health insurance;
    • employee assistance program;
    • wellness program;
    • tuition reimbursement;
    • 401k;
    • paid vacation;
    • paid sick time;
    • paid holidays;
    • employee bonus;
    • free on-duty meals
  • Full- and part-time job opportunities
  • 23 percent of employees on staff at least five years
  • 25 percent of employees on staff at least 10 years

Career development and training 

  • Gaming
  • Culinary
  • Hospitality
  • Information Technology
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Administration
  • Security

Training Programs 

  • Penn State Leadership Series
  • Dale Carnegie Certification
  • On-line courses
  • Scholarship programs
  • Paid internships
  • Partnerships with State and Count agencies to target unemployed and underemployed

Career Path 

  • Vice President of Table Operations - started as a dealer
  • Chief Operating Officer - started as a cashier
  • General Manager - started as slot technician
  • Senior Vice President of Marketing - started as a phone operator
  • Chief Financial Officer - started as room service attendant
  • Vice President of Resort Operations - started as on-call banquet server.

Consortium Proposal (Proposal B)

As submitted to the City of Rochester on behalf of Thomas C. Wilmot, Chairman of Wilmorite Management Group LLC:

400 Jobs for Rochester 

In partnership with Rochester Works and their participating job training programs the organizers of Wilmorite, Delaware North and Batavia OTB have stepped up and will source 400 Full time Equivalent jobs from the City of Rochester. Direct route transportation coordinated with RTS from the City Center will be provided free of charge for employees of Lago, Finger Lakes Raceway and Batavia OTB. In addition, these organizers will encourage other affiliated entities to participate by having job listings made available through this City oriented job portal like the one on Rochester Works Website. The organizers alone have thousands of gaming and non-gaming oriented jobs[2] that can be listed through the City oriented job portal and will look to solicit participation by other businesses.

The jobs at Lago, Finger Lakes Raceway and Batavia OTB are designed for training and upward progression. This group wants to and will go further. This group will participate in existing programs that train and mentor City youth. This group will work with Rochester Works, the Greater Rochester YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, the Roland Williams Champion Academy and Monroe Community College to provide resources for these programs and better yet access to a job after high school and or college as a carrot to keep the kids in the various programs through their adolescent years. We intend to also offer to work with the Urban League and any other worthy not for profits. This overall coordination with City input will enhance positive outcomes already be attained by these programs.

Performing Arts Center 

CORH (City of Rochester Hotel)  proves it can be done. In the late 1980’s an out of town developer started construction on the Hyatt Downtown. He stopped construction and left a shell of a building without a means of finishing it. In 1990 a Group called CORH “City of Rochester Hotel” was formed which included Rochester Business leaders like Myself to save the Hyatt City Center and finish the building. The organization worked with city, county, and private business to find a means for finishing the project and we were able to raise around $38,000,000 of public/private funds to get it completed. We have done it before and believe we can bring the city, state, county, and business leaders together again to solve this issue of a new Performing Art Center. A Performing Art Center that compliments existing offerings. Additionally, much like what was done to address operational concerns when the community banded together and made room commitments to revive and complete the downtown Hyatt, the organizers of A Better Rochester will use there player reward programs to commit to significant blocks of tickets to work with RBTL to enhance their existing member driven efforts. With state funding for the construction and renewed and enhanced community commitments the Performing Arts Center can become a reality in Rochester.

Work with Wilmorite, Delaware North and Batavia OTB in the coming months to develop definitive agreements, funding and committed timelines and Rochester grows through 400 valuable upwardly mobile jobs and funding for construction and development of a Rochester Performing Arts facility for RBTL performances. The taxpaying business community is here for the City. This alternative proposal gets the City what it desires and needs without the dire economic consequences associated with the Seneca Nation Proposal. This group will enter into a definitive letter of intent to the Mayor and the City Council satisfaction but needs to know the City is willing to commit to this alternative proposal.

[2]Rochester area malls have over 3000 jobs; Delaware North has over 3000 jobs worldwide; Batavia OTB has over 300 jobs and its affiliated counties have thousands of civil service jobs