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City of Rochester

Rochester's Blue Ribbon Developments - Rochester's Transformation

Ribbon Cuttings and Ground Breakings

Rochester is proud to showcase blue ribbon developments across the city. Whether it's the opening of a business or non-profit agency, the launch of a street re-construction project or the unveiling of a City service, these events are opportunities to celebrate the dedication and hard work of the people who make them possible.


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taste-of-ethopia-2Taste of Ethiopia: February 14, 2014

City Neighborhood and Business Development Commissioner Delmonize ‘Del’ Smith joined business owner Mesrak Tesfaye at a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the Taste of Ethiopia restaurant, located at 155 State Street in Downtown.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Ms. Tesfaye and her staff to this prime location Downtown,” said Commissioner Smith. “We thank her for choosing to do business here and investing in our city. Taste of Ethiopia brings a new flavor to Downtown and we wish her great success in this beautiful building.”

Taste of Ethiopia is a full-service restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Ms. Tesfaye aims to provide authentic Ethiopian-style cuisine to her customers with the flavors and ambiance of the cultural beauty of Ethiopia in the newly renovated space. Read more.



 Dixon-funeral-g-break Expansion of Dixon Funeral Home: February 1, 2014

Owners Geraldine L. Dixon and the Rev. Roosevelt Dixon broke ground to celebrate the pending construction of an expansion to the G.L. Dixon Funeral Home, 1080 North St. The G.L. Dixon Funeral Home was established in 1989 and is a family-owned, full-service funeral home, noted for its compassionate and affordable services. 

“Dixon Funeral Home has been an institution in Northeast Rochester for many years, and I am honored to help mark this special occasion,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “I am proud to call the Dixons my neighbors and friends and wish them the best of luck with this expansion.”

The funeral home will undertake an expansion of the embalming area, interior upgrades, and the construction of a new parking lot. Funding for the $300,000 project is being provided by the City Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, and includes low-interest financing and a grant. Read more 


 Blu-Wolf-Bistro-1 Blu Wolf Bistro: December 23, 2013

Owners Roland Perrin and Jason Snyder boast passion for both food and hospitality and are excited to bring Blu Wolf Bistro to the Rochester dining scene.

Blu Wolf Bistro, located at 657 Park Ave., bills itself as a “gastropub,” or a neighborhood sports bar that serves gourmet pub food and drinks in an upscale, inviting atmosphere. The bar offers three dozen draft beer options and wines from around the world.

The menu features traditional favorites like burgers and fried fish cooked with quality ingredients in a fashion designed to earn the respect of Rochester’s most seasoned connoisseurs of fine food. Read more.


Gantt-center-1David F. Gantt Community Center Renovations: December 20, 2013

After two years of planning and gathering community input, and 14 months of construction, the $2.7 million renovation of the David F. Gantt Community Center is now complete.

The new Gantt Center now features a redesigned and renovated interior with a full slate of new amenities including a commercial kitchen, a music recording studio, a computer lab teen lounge, and a family fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and exercise machines.

The center, located at 700 North St., is the City’s biggest and busiest Recreation Center, and hosts numerous sports programs, the Earth Explorers environmental education program and the innovative RocMusic program. Read more.


Havana-CabanaHavana Cabana: December  11, 2013

Owners Matt Cole and Trey Yager call the Havana Cabana an “escape to a relaxing island,” and encourage patrons to come early and stay late.

The Caribbean themed restaurant serving fresh Cuban/Caribbean inspired entrées is located at 289 Alexander St. in the heart of Rochester’s East End District.  Its rum bar features custom cocktails and more than forty premium rums.

Live Caribbean and Calypso music is played on Friday and Saturday nights with plenty of room for dancing in the 3,500 square-foot space.  Read more.



 JF-Jones-Jewlery-11-13 JF Jones Jewelers 85 Years Anniversary: November 20, 2013

City Neighborhood and Business Development Commissioner R. Carlos Carballada joined business owner Colleen A. Jones for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the 85th anniversary of JF Jones Jewelers, located at 660 W. Ridge Road.

JF Jones Jewelers was founded as a repair shop in 1928 by Joseph F. Jones. The store has been in the same family for four generations, surviving the Great Depression and evolving into jewelry and gift store. 

Colleen Jones credits the business’s success to its dedication to customer service, early adoption of new technology, unique product offerings and the store’s experienced and talented jewelers.


Rochester-Optical-11-13Rochester Optical: November 16, 2013

Rochester Optical's fourth optical retail store, located at 1575 Mt. Hope Ave., serves the daytime population of the University of Rochester and Medical Center as well as neighborhood residents and the general public.

Founded in 1932, Rochester Optical is a manufacturer and distributor of digital lenses, eyewear and contact lenses serving optical professionals, military and government agencies with fashion, performance and safety eyewear.

Its three other retail stores are located on Lyell Ave in Rochester, Greece and in the Perinton Mall. Read more 


Marina-G-BreakPort of Rochester Marina Project: November 14, 2013

Mayor Thomas S. Richards joined federal, state and city leaders and members of the Charlotte Neighborhood at a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction on the Port of Rochester Marina project at the mouth of the Genesee River on Lake Ontario.

The Marina will be a catalyst for development that will create up to 2,500 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs. It will create a new stretch of waterfront property, increasing the value of public land that is currently vacant and not generating revenue. The project features a new deep-draft marina basin that can accommodate 85 boat slips, relocated roadways and a connection of the Genesee Riverway Trail to a new public promenade that will be built around the new marina.

Construction of the marina should be complete by the spring of 2015. Read more 


Holy-Rosary-R-CutHoly Rosary Apartments: November 6, 2013

Providence Housing Development Corporation celebrated the opening of Holy Rosary Apartments, 414 Lexington Ave.,with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The former Holy Rosary parish campus has been converted into a community center and the former school, convent and rectory now houses 35 affordable housing apartments.

The redevelopment also includes the construction of 25 new single family rental homes throughout the Edgerton Neighborhood built on scattered vacant city parcels within a 10-block distance of the Holy Rosary campus.  

Read more



Pasta-ChefPasta Chef To-Go: November 13, 2013

Business owner Jan Puglia celebrated the grand opening of Pasta Chef To-Go, a take-out restaurant offering fresh Italian food at 260 N. Winton Rd.

Puglia retired from a 37-year career at Xerox and previously operated PJ’s Sub Shop in the 1980s. It has been his life-long dream to own an Italian restaurant, sharing his family recipes and offering a convenient service he describes as “fine food to-go.”

Pasta Chef To-Go is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.  Read more  


PAWS-openingPAWS Community Clinic: October 19, 2013

PAWS Inc. (Providing Animal Welfare Services) hosted a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate its new headquarters at 1105 Ridgeway Ave.

The non-profit organization offers free or low-cost veterinary care, education and outreach and seeks to rebuild and establish the value of a relationship between pets and their owners and the community overall.

PAWS' outreach program developed by founder and president Matt Piccone, is the first of its kind in Rochester, using a grassroots approach to animal welfare. For example, volunteers will stop pet owners on the streets, knock on doors and speak to neighbors in an effort to keep animals out of shelters and rescues. Read more 


Academy-bldg-openingAcademy Building: Sept. 5, 2013

Rochester’s landmark Academy building located in the City Hall Historic District has been redeveloped by owner and developer George Traikos of Fitzhugh Associates into 21 luxury lofts and 6,000 square-feet of customizable commercial space.

This High Victorian Gothic architecture style building was designed by Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner, and built in 1873, as Rochester’s first public high school, the Rochester Free Academy.

“Yet another landmark building has been turned into something useful—helping our transformation of Downtown.” said Mayor Richards. “The beautiful Academy Building is wrought with history and we are thankful to George Traikos of Fitzhugh Associates for his commitment and for the consistent support we receive from Empire State Development Corporation in our endeavors.”

The project’s more than $7 million in total investment includes an $800,000 Restore NY grant, a $700,000 City of Rochester loan, Federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits as well as assistance from COMIDA. Read more


windstream-openingWindstream Move-in / Pike Company Opens Seneca Building:  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.

The project was the first private development to take hold on the Midtown Rising site after Windstream acquired PAETEC Holding Corp. two years ago. Windstream will bring 335 of its employees to Downtown by the end of October.

“Just last year, we gathered here for the groundbreaking on this project that started a new chapter for Midtown Rising and for our Center City,” said Mayor Richards. “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.” Read more.


project scionProject Scion 2013: August 28, 2013

Landscape designers Pietro Furgiuele of Waterford Tilling, Sharon Coates and Bruce Zaretsky of Zaretsky and Associates have transformed the corner of Dewey and Ravine Avenues into green space and reading garden for the 2013 Project Scion.

The project entitled “The Gateway,” creates an entrance of sorts to the Dewey-Lexington neighborhood. The green space features boulder seats, a rolling hill for children to play on, outdoor chess tables and a “Take a book-leave a book” lending library, all surrounded by gardens and trees. The “Do We” Art Walk was made with painted pavers created by the Project Scion team, neighborhood kids and residents.

Project Scion, now in its second year, is an initiative to take vacant lots in Rochester and turn them into resident-inclusive green spaces to serve as “town squares.” The 2012 Project Scion called “The Orchard,” was installed at Jay and Child Streets has been a great success in that neighborhood. Read more.


Rochester-Community-Animal-Rochester Community Animal Clinic: July 26, 2013

Rochester Community Animal Clinic is the Monroe Veterinary Associates’ new outpatient animal clinic located at 985 Bay Street, providing economical veterinary services for dogs and cats, including income-based spay and neuter procedures and after-hours outpatient urgent care services and wellness care.

“Friends of Ferals” clinics will be scheduled once a month to address the feline overpopulation problem. During the clinics, 30-40 feral cats will be spayed or neutered, and receive vaccines and other treatments. The clinic will provide 14 new jobs, including four full-time and 10 part-time positions. Read more.


RPD-downtown-openRochester Police Department Downtown Detail Office: July 25, 2013

The new 7,500 square foot Downtown office is located in the Sibley Building at 30 N. Clinton Ave. The office is staffed by one crime prevention officer, 32 patrol officers, six supervisors under the command of Capt. Peter Leach.

The primary focus of the Detail is to provide a uniformed presence during business hours of the work week, when Downtown activity is at its highest levels.

The office business hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and officers assigned to the Detail will be available for service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Read More.


El-Pilon-ribbon-cut El Pilón Criollo: July 19, 2013:

El Pilón Criollo is a take-out restaurant that specializes in traditional Hispanic food such as rice and bean dishes, fried pork, baked chicken, fried chicken, stew, ribs and fritters.

This restaurant is family owned and operated by by Zury Brown and her three daughters, Zulma, Christina and Alejandra -- familiar faces in the Clinton Avenue neighborhood since the restaurant’s original location opened in 2008.

El Pilón Criollo is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Read more.



brooks-crossingGroundbreaking Ceremony for The Flats at Brooks Crossing: July 12, 2013

The $18.7 million Christenson Corp. project consists of a 12-story mixed-use building near the corner of Brooks Avenue and Genesee Street, with a second, 4,000 square foot, single-story building facing Genesee Street.

The University of Rochester will be the main tenant of the riverfront building, with 10 floors students housing, and a lower-level scull boat house. A 5,000 square foot restaurant will open on the first floor of the building.

Approximately 200 construction jobs will be created during the course of construction, and 40 permanent jobs are expected to be created when the buildings are complete, as early as summer 2014. Read more.


hot-rod-bettysHot Rod Betties: June 21, 2013

Hot Rod Betties, at 654 South Ave., is a unique clothing store specializing in retro-inspired clothing, shoes and accessories for the entire family as well as vintage home goods.

Owner Sarah Jane McPike is a freelance hair and makeup artist and a self-taught seamstress and designer. She previously worked in the costume shop and wardrobe department of a local theatre where she says she acquired a vast knowledge and appreciation for clothing.

Store hours are Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Custom design services available by appointment with Ms. McPike and alterations can be made on-site. Read more.


California Rollin' Ribbon CuttingCalifornia Rollin’ Etc.: June 17, 2013

California Rollin’ is a well-known name in Rochester. California Rollin’ first opened in 1990 at the Rochester Public market and moved to the Village Gate in 1994. A second restaurant was opened more than 10 years ago in the Port of Rochester Terminal Building. In addition to sushi, California Rollin’ Etc., located at 910 Genesee St. will also offer a variety of breakfast sandwiches and omelets on an eclectic menu that owner Tom Beaman views as an opportunity to showcase more creative recipes.

California Rollin’ Etc. received local grants from the City to help pay for the architectural planning of the restaurant. The restaurant will employ 10 full-time and 10 part-time workers, with plans to add more employees as the business grows.



brook-court-house-2Brooks Court: June 17, 2013

Brooks Court is a new neighborhood street in the 19th Ward neighborhood that will eventually hold 29 single family, owner-occupied detached homes with “city house” designs reminiscent of the Craftsman and Bungalow styles that were prevalent in the early to mid-1900s.

The location is near the Brooks Landing area, which has recently received substantial investment from the City, the University of Rochester and private investors. Brooks Court is within walking distance to the University, Strong Memorial Hospital, Genesee Valley Park and local restaurants.


On The Road Again: : June 14, 2013 on-the-road-again

Mayor Thomas S. Richards is pleased to announce that On the Road Again celebrated its grand opening in an expanded location at 428 Jefferson Ave.

Business owner Wanda Adames enjoys offering products that are affordable for families. Her store offers gently used children's items such as books, toys, clothing, shoes and furniture at marked down prices.

On the Road Again is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Read more.


lorrainesLorraine’s Food Factory 30th Anniversary at Patio Opening: June 13, 2013

Mayor Thomas S. Richards is pleased to announce the 30th anniversary of local catering icon Lorraine’s Food Factory. Owner Lorraine Serpe has been in business in the city since 1982, focusing primarily on catering, lunch deliveries, and now, gourmet frozen meals.

Serpe also celebrated the grand opening of a new, outdoor patio dining area that has seating for more than 30 people.

Lorraine’s, located at 777 Culver Rd., is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Read more.




Lexington Federal Credit Union: June 5, 2013

Originally established to serve the employees of Rochester Products in 1956, Lexington FCU received a charter expansion in 2002 to include people who live or work in Rochester.

Following the announcement that the First Niagara branch at this location was slated to be closed last spring, Council President Warren—who represents the North East District, the City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, and members of the Joseph Avenue Business Association worked with the bank to find a new owner to continue providing banking services at this location. First Niagara worked extensively with management at Lexington to make the transfer happen and donated the property to Lexington FCU. The new branch, at 762 Joseph Ave. is the second location for Lexington. Read more.




Yolishous Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Bar: May 31, 2013  

Patrons of the Yolishous Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Bar, 647 Park Ave., can treat themselves to 18 flavors of yogurt and over 30 different toppings – from fresh seasonal fruits, sugar-free syrups, cereal, candy, nuts and full-calorie toppings – to create their own custom dessert.

Chances are there will always be a family member on site, since daughters Talia and Veronica Williams  stand in as managers. The family opened Yolishous on Park Avenue because they say, “It is one of the most exciting areas in Rochester.”

Hours: Mon. through Thurs., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Read more.


Sawdey Way:  May 20, 2013

Mayor Thomas S. Richards joined family members of the late Virginia Sawdey and community members Monday to mark the official opening of Rochester’s newest street as “Sawdey Way” in memory of a woman whose name has become synonymous with community advocacy in Northwest Rochester.

“Virginia Sawdey was persistent and determined in her efforts to make the Edgerton Neighborhood a better place for its residents and visitors,” said Mayor Richards. “She was a role model for anyone who was willing to refuse complacency and demand action. I am honored to name this street after her to ensure the legacy of Virginia Sawdey, and all that she stood for, lives on.” Read more 


 ribbon-cut-hands Traditions Take-Out and Catering: May 30, 2013

Traditions Take-Out and Catering is open for business at 651 Jefferson Ave. Owned by Tracy and Willie Hobbs, specializes in comfort foods and Southern hospitality style catering.

The Hobbs opened Traditions because of their love of cooking and catering and hope to leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren. The menu features Tennessee Catfish, New Orleans Style Red Beans and Southern Fried Cabbage.

Traditions Take Out and Catering is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Read more


 Rincon-0509131NBD083 Rincon Criollo Restaurant: May 21, 2013

Rincon Criollo is a new eatery specializing in authentic Puerto Rican sandwiches, located at 1485 Dewey Ave.

Business owners Lucila and Eddie Matos began their culinary career working in restaurants and have always dreamed of owning their own restaurant. They are excited to bring these flavors to the Latino community.

Hours of operation at Rincon Criollo are: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Read more.


trü salon: May 20, 2013

A new 1,200 foot luxury salon, trü salon, is now open in the Park Avenue area.  

At 603 Park Ave., owners Julie Judge, Kevin Judge and Rachel McCooey offer value added extras including scalp and shoulder massage before a haircut or a hand massage before a color.  

Hours of operation are: Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Read more 


 eastman-commonsEastman Commons: May 1, 2013

The Eastman Commons project at 1630 Dewey Ave. received considerable City assistance and involved the conversion of an industrial laundry facility into an affordable housing and service complex for the formerly homeless, low-income working adults and individuals with special needs.

The project includes 80 affordable one-bedroom apartments and on-site services provided by Sojourner House at PathStone. Read more 



 ribbon-cut-handsEnergy on East: April 26, 2013

Energy on East is a new holistic and wellness center, located at 320 East Ave.

“Energy on East is a perfect fit for the trendy East End,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “We welcome Ms. Sladden to the neighborhood and we are confident that the unique services she offers will complement this area nicely.”

Energy on East offers Reiki, Healing, Integrated Energy Therapy, Tarot & Spiritual Readings, yoga and much more. The center is open to individuals interested in achieving optimal health and balance in life – the primary goal of holistic medicine. Energy on East also offers healthy eating and cooking classes for those seeking to transform their eating habits. Classes are offered in the evenings, on weekends or by appointment. Read more


 El-Pilon-0409131CB080 El Pilon Criollo: April 24, 2013

Mayor Thomas S. Richards, Neighborhood and Business Development Commissioner R. Carlos Carballada, City Council President Lovely A. Warren and City Councilmember Jackie Ortiz joined with business owner Zury Brown for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new location of El Pilon Criollo restaurant, 973 N. Clinton Ave. North Clinton Avenue, commonly referred to as “La Avenida” or “the Avenue,” serves as the commercial corridor of the surrounding residential neighborhood.

El Pilon marks the first construction on N. Clinton Avenue in more than 12 years and is set to open in late summer, 2013. The total investment of the El Pilon Criollo project is $285,870, including a City loan in the amount of $114,000. Read more


 Leons-0311132NBD066Leon’s Quality Cuts Barber Shop: April 19, 2013

Leon’s Quality Cuts Barber Shop at 411 Chili Ave. in the city’s southwest offers professional haircuts with all the comforts of home.
“I would like to thank you for investing in our city as a business owner and I look forward to seeing your barber shop become an asset to this neighborhood,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “The City of Rochester and its residents wish you the best and appreciate your commitment to improving services available in the city.”
Mr. Jones was provided with a small business grant by the City to help him open the barber shop.  The shop is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Read more.



carriage-factoryCarriage Factory Apartments: March 28, 2013

State, County, and City officials joined with DePaul and the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association for a groundbreaking ceremony at the long-vacant Cunningham Carriage Factory, soon to be transformed into the Carriage Factory Apartments. DePaul’s $23 million redevelopment of 73,000 square-foot building at 33 Litchfield Street will create 71 rental units of supportive housing for individuals with special needs. The City provided a $600,000 loan to support this project as well as a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement.

Originally home to the Cunningham Carriage Factory and Companies, this building is one of Rochester’s oldest manufacturing plants, built in 1910 to manufacture handmade customized horse-drawn carriages. The company later produced handmade automobiles until the creation of the assembly line ultimately led to the factory’s closure. Read more.


Jackson-HewittJackson Hewitt Tax Service: Feb. 21, 2013

Business owners William Thompson and Deborah Schroeder—familiar faces in the neighborhood—opened their first Jackson Hewitt office on Thurston Road nearly 20 years ago. Now located at 669 Thurston Rd. today, William and his daughter Deborah are enjoying the greater visibility to potential clients, better access and more parking for customers at their new location.

A full-service, year-round income tax preparation company, Jackson Hewitt franchises specialize in computerized federal and state tax preparation for small business owners and individual filers.

The new office’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., year-round. Hours of operation may vary during the tax season and customers are encouraged to call 235-7420 for more information.



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