News Release -- Parker to Lead Entertainment Complex Effort at Parcel 5


City of Rochester 

News Release


(Tuesday, March 6, 2018)—Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced that plans are moving forward to bring more jobs and people to Downtown Rochester with the construction of an entertainment complex, performance venue and mixed-use development at the Midtown Parcel 5 site.  Former RBA (Chamber of Commerce) President Sandy Parker will now lead the team to move this project forward.  Mayor Warren is also asking City Council to advance the project by passing legislation to engage a consultant who will answer additional questions related to the project’s long-term impacts.   

“Parcel 5 offers a rare opportunity to infuse our Center City with a new sense of vibrancy and vitality so that all of our citizens can participate in Rochester’s economic recovery,” said Mayor Warren. “Thanks to the vision and support of people like Sandy Parker, Tom Golisano and Bob Morgan, this project can become the cornerstone of a bigger, better, bolder Rochester – a city that works for all of its citizens and fosters true economic equality. This project is more than a building – it is an investment in the people of Rochester.  It’s a job creator and it is now more than just a theater – it is an entertainment complex that will anchor our Downtown with hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and I could not think of anyone better to help move this effort forward than Sandy Parker.  Sandy knows how to get things done and she also shares my vision for a thriving, alive and exciting Downtown as an anchor to move our city forward and create jobs.”

Parker will lead the project’s team comprised of Morgan Management and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL) and will seek to engage the public, funders, the arts community and important community stakeholders in the process moving forward.

“I am very excited to be a part of the effort to re-envision Parcel 5 with exciting entertainment options, including a potential movie theater, new outdoor performance space along with a state-of-the-art theater for stage productions from Broadway-style shows to community plays,” said Sandy Parker.  “Music, entertainment and the performing arts are incredibly important for our city and region’s economy, so this job-creating project is important to the entire community.  Adding additional entertainment venues and functions to this project will ensure there is no “dark” time and by including a plan for the re-use of the Auditorium Theatre we can accommodate additional performing arts needs within the community.   I look forward to working with the Mayor and all of our partners to make this visionary job-creating project a reality.”

The project would combine an entertainment and performance complex with housing, retail shops and restaurants and will be a joint venture between Morgan Communities and the RBTL.

Mayor Warren has submitted legislation to City Council to commission one of the nation’s preeminent performing arts consulting firms to evaluate and answer questions raised by the community about the proposal to build a performance venue at Parcel 5.  The legislation also asks for Council’s support of the overall project. 

DLR Group - Westlake Reed Leskosky, who is partnered with AMS Planning and Research, will evaluate the questions and provide recommendations on how to further incorporate the interests of the community into the design of the new venue.

RBTL announced that is it is already taking steps to address some of the questions raised.  For instance, RBTL is preparing a preliminary design for the complex that would include a green roof with outdoor performance space, a movie theater and other uses that can spill on to the sidewalk and streets surrounding the facility. RBTL is also exploring future uses for the Auditorium Theater and is making progress on its fundraising goals for the new venue.

The addition of a movie theater will allow the facility to remain in use during times when the theater is not being used for stage productions and could potentially be modeled after large “I-Max type” theaters found in other cities.  The roof-top performance space would give the community an exciting new venue for concerts and other performances.  

The equivalent of 610 full-time construction jobs are envisioned for the estimated $130 million project, along with an additional 166 new, permanent, full-time jobs once the project is completed. Additionally, the economic impact of a new theater and other added entertainment space will be significantly larger than RBTL’s shows currently create with the possibility of more shows and additional ticket sales from a larger theatre, movies and rooftop entertainment space.

RBTL estimates the new Golisano Arts & Entertainment Center would book more than 200 “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.* 

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.

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 Arts & Entertainment Center. 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.

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, including a green roof outdoor entertainment space, as previously mentioned.


See renderings here>> 


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.

*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. The attendance figure of 360,000 and the economic impact figures are predicated on Broadway-style shows and do not take into account movie theater or other entertainment options, which would increase both of these measures.