City of Rochester
(Friday, April 7, 2017) -- Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren today announced a major job-creating project to include the Golisano Center for the Performing Arts and Tower with housing, retail shops, restaurants and additional parking as the City’s selection for the development of Parcel 5 at Midtown. The project will be a joint venture between Morgan Communities and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL).
“This much anticipated selection for Parcel 5 is a victory for our city in every way and I am grateful to Bob Morgan, RBTL and Tom Golisano for their investment in Rochester and its people,” said Mayor Warren. “Today we will begin a journey that will bring a combined 776 construction and permanent jobs to those who need them most, all while reinvigorating our city center with a hub of activity, entertainment, housing, commerce, shops and restaurants. This project will be an anchor for new development and represents continued progress for our city and, most importantly, its residents. A vibrant Downtown is critical for the overall health of a city and this project will help make all of our neighborhoods more vibrant in the process through the significant number of jobs that are tied to it. By creating more jobs we can positively contribute to safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for all of our citizens. Today’s announcement is proof that our city is moving in the right direction and doing so in a way that benefits all of our residents.”
“We are very excited to partner with Mayor Warren, the City of Rochester and RBTL to bring this dynamic, job-creating project to Parcel 5,” said Bob Morgan, CEO of Morgan Communities. “We have made significant investment throughout the city and particularly in Downtown and I believe this project, once completed, will not only help that investment but will lead to significant new investment as well. I believe in the Mayor’s vision for our city and I am excited to be a part of that vison on Parcel 5 and beyond.”
The proposed project will include an approximately 3,000-seat performing arts center as proposed by RBTL combined with a new component from Morgan Communities of a residential tower which will include approximately 150 rental units (with some “affordable housing units” as part of the mix with market rate units). The residential tower will also include retail shops and restaurants at street level.
“RBTL has been working for 20 years to make today a reality and we are grateful to Mayor Lovely Warren for her leadership and to Tom Golisano for his philanthropy to finally make this possible,” said Arnie Rothschild, RBTL CEO and Board Chairman. “This project will put the arts front and center in our city all while delivering enhanced economic impacts and jobs.”
The equivalent of 610 full-time construction jobs are envisioned for the estimated $130 million project, along with another 166 new permanent full-time jobs once the project is completed. Additionally, the economic impact of a new theater will be significantly larger than RBTL’s shows currently create with the possibility of more shows and additional ticket sales from a larger theatre.
RBTL estimates the new Golisano Center for the Performing Arts would book a minimum of 180 “use nights” in a given year, which would bring more than 360,000 people Downtown annually with a projected $18.5 million in ticket sales for an overall economic impact of $55.5 million.
To put this into perspective, a two-week RBTL show from last season had attendance of 40,000 people and ticket sales of $2.8 million. The economic impact from this two week performance was $8.4 million (which is generally calculated for Broadway shows using a multiplier of three versus ticket sales). As part of that impact, the cast purchased 840 room nights in local hotels, rented 20-30 cars and an untold number of food and beverage purchases from local restaurants, among other miscellaneous expenditures. Additionally, 105 stage hands were employed on the show along with 20 wardrobe people and 10 musicians. Add to this the dollars spent by theater goers on dinners and other things.
Project developers have agreed to adopt a ‘Rochester First’ hiring policy for the permanent jobs that will be located at this facility. Morgan Communities and RBTL will work with the City of Rochester, the New York State Department of Labor, Monroe Community College and SUNY REOC to give first preference for hiring to residents of the city of Rochester. They have also committed to work with any prospective commercial tenants to give first preference for hiring to residents of the city of Rochester as well.
Parcel 5 is one of the Midtown development parcels created since the demolition of Midtown Plaza was completed in 2011. Funding from New York State has been instrumental to the Midtown Rising project, most notably through a $55 million Empire State Development City by City grant in 2008 for demolition activities. The State has provided numerous other grants related to the project for planning, engineering, environmental remediation, property acquisition and site development since 2007.
Last year, the Rose Fellowship presented its recommendations on Downtown revitalization stating that more varied housing options would be highly beneficial to Downtown Rochester.
Morgan Communities, as part of their proposal to the City, is confident it has the means necessary to access the finances needed to complete their portion of this project and RBTL also assured the City they were ready to move forward with a significant $25 million financial commitment from local philanthropist Tom Golisano for the theater. As part of their submission, RBTL stated no operational subsidy will be required for the ongoing operation of the Golisano Center for the Performing Arts. Additionally, while RBTL is a not-for-profit and the theater portion would not be a taxable property, the tower portion of the development would be.
After conversations with the developers and a host of other potential funding sources, the City is confident the project will have the funding needed to bring this project to completion. Once funding has been finalized, the City will move ahead with the sale of Parcel 5 to Morgan Communities and RBTL so they can begin construction of the Golisano Center for the Performing Arts and Tower at Parcel 5.
The public green space currently located between Parcel 5 and Elm Street will remain and the developers will actively seek to incorporate additional green building design elements into the project.
News Media: For more information, contact Ted Capuano at 585.428.6427.