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Bull's Head Revitalization Project


The Bull’s Head Revitalization Project represents years of neighborhood-based planning driven by a strong commitment from residents, other stakeholders, and the City of Rochester to catalyze revitalization and redevelopment in Bull’s Head, a community with a prominent history that has experienced significant disinvestment over several decades. The planning process identified a number of core principles for revitalization, including:

  • Neighborhood Vibrancy & Sense of Place
  • Safe, Accessible Transportation Systems
  • Employment & Business Expansion
  • Quality, Mixed-Use Development
  • Renewed Housing Opportunities
  • Public Space, Parks & Recreation Enhancements
  • Public Safety & Health Benefits
  • Environmental Restoration


In 2009, the City undertook a Bull’s Head community input/planning process to bring neighborhood-wide community concerns to the surface as well as to identify potential opportunities to address those concerns. As a part of that process, the City hosted a Bull’s Head Community Design Workshop on September 26, 2009. The workshop was well attended and helped to establish the foundation upon which further revitalization planning for Bull's Head continues as outlined below: 

Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Plan

This Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Plan effort commenced in 2009 and resulted in the City Council designating as eligible for urban renewal, a portion of the Bull’s Head neighborhood bounded by properties on the north sides of Brown Street, West Main Street, and West Avenue, as eligible for urban renewal. In 2017, the City expanded the eligible area including properties south of West Main Street. The resulting Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Area map can be viewed by clicking here. In 2018, the City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD) completed the Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Plan which strengthened the City’s efforts to remove blighted conditions and helped facilitate continued land assembly activities in the area as a precursor to future reinvestment. Rochester City Council approved the Bull's Head Urban Renewal Plan on July 24, 2018.

Click the link below to review the approved Bull’s Urban Renewal Plan:

Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Plan

Bull’s Head Brownfield Opportunity Area (BHBOA)

The New York State Department of State’s (NYSDOS) Brownfield Opportunity Area Program (BOA) provides communities with guidance, expertise and financial assistance to complete revitalization and implementation strategies for neighborhoods or areas affected by brownfields. The NYSDOS BOA Program enables communities to comprehensively assess existing economic and environmental conditions associated with brownfield blight and impacted areas, identify and prioritize community supported redevelopment opportunities, and attract public and private investment.

In order to best facilitate revitalization planning for Bull’s Head, the City pursued a NYSDOS BOA Step 2 Nomination grant. For inclusion in and as a prerequisite to the Step 2 application, the City completed a BHBOA Step 1 Pre-Nomination Study, based in part on the 2009 Bull’s Head community input/planning effort. The purpose of the BHBOA Study was to develop viable brownfield strategies, to build on existing community assets, and ultimately, to create job opportunities leading to area-wide revitalization. Over 60 potential brownfield sites were identified within the proposed BHBOA boundary and the findings of the Study clearly illustrated the need for more planning and analysis towards redevelopment in the area. The City subsequently received award of the BOA Step 2 Nomination grant.

The objective of the BHBOA Step 2 project was to create and implement a revitalization plan to reposition Bull’s Head as a vital community with enhanced job/business opportunities, quality housing and improved public infrastructure/amenities. The BHBOA Step 2 grant enabled the City to complete the nomination phase activities including: collecting additional data; identifying market conditions and evaluating future development potential; and, completing a Bull’s Head revitalization plan. Continued community engagement was a key component of the BHBOA Step 2 planning process. The Bull’s Head BOA Revitalization Plan was submitted to and approved by NYSDOS, thereby establishing official BOA designation for the BHBOA in January 2021.

Click the links below to review the approved Bull’s Head BOA Revitalization Plan and appendices:

Bull’s Head BOA Revitalization Plan

Bull’s Head BOA Revitalization Plan Appendices

Bull’s Head - Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel

In recognition of the robust community planning processes undertaken thus far, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) selected, among only a handful nationwide, the Bull’s Head Revitalization project for its esteemed Advisory Services Program held in 2021. ULI’s Advisory Services Program culminated in a summit of selected panelists including national experts in urban planning, citizen engagement, community development, market research, and real estate development. Panelists took a “deep dive” into the Bull’s Head setting including review of completed community planning related materials, interviews with key stakeholders, and thoughtful comparisons with similar community endeavors around the nation. Together with the City and ULI, the panelists held a public two-day virtual panel session to discuss their understanding of opportunities and constraints associated with revitalization of the Bull’s Head neighborhood. The Advisory Services Program resulted in an Executive Summary Report including background, findings, and recommendations.

The above project documents for the Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Plan, Bull’s Head BOA, and ULI Advisory Services Program, are also available in hardcopy format for review at the following location:

Monroe County Library System - Arnett Branch Library 
310 Arnett Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14619 

For hours of operation, please call the branch or visit the branch webpage.

Targeted Redevelopment Area

As part of the above Bull’s Head community planning processes, a targeted area within both the BHBOA and the Bull’s Head Urban Renewal Area was identified as a catalytic and transformative redevelopment opportunity. Based on input received from the community, repositioning this blighted, disinvested, and underutilized area as a renewed thriving and vital community hub is a top priority for the City.

Redevelopment Vision Plan

The Bull’s Head community planning process resulted in a redevelopment vision plan for the targeted redevelopment area, bringing together key elements/best practices in city place-making in the context of the Bull’s Head community. Below is the resulting vision plan.

Bull's Head Development Plan

Predevelopment Activities

The City has undertaken extensive predevelopment activities within the targeted redevelopment area. Activities both completed and ongoing are supported through over $10 million in allocations from the City’s Capital Improvement Program since 2014. These activities will create development ready sites and often include addressing brownfield subsurface conditions. One hallmark of this effort is reversing the adverse impacts of legacy brownfield site conditions to the surrounding Bull’s Head neighborhood. 

Public Infrastructure

To accommodate new development within the targeted redevelopment area, the City applied for and was awarded approximately $7.5 million in Federal Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) funding. The awarded TIP funding represents half of the funding for a total $15 million streets and public infrastructure project focused on the targeted redevelopment area. Preliminary street design activities are currently underway with construction anticipated to begin in 2026.

Click here for more information.


With the culmination of an extensive community planning process for Bull’s Head, spanning over ten years, the City solicited private sector development interest in Bull’s Head through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued in July 2020. 

After a thorough review of the respondents’ RFQ submissions, including visits to projects in other cities and holding developer team interviews, the City selected a national developer team led by the Dawson Company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Dawson Company is a minority-owned mixed-use developer with extensive experience in urban redevelopment/revitalization. Additional information regarding the selected development team is available here.