Developer: Plans will be in place for riverfront development by June
By next summer, Bloom International Realty plans to present the Rochester City Council with a detailed plan to redevelop a prime piece of riverfront real estate.
The council on Monday approved the Abu Dhabi-based firm's request for an additional six months of exclusive negotiating rights for the property.
The land Bloom wants to build on includes the AFL Labor Temple, also home to Legends Bar, and two parking facilities. All three parcels are owned by the city.
The council first awarded Bloom exclusive rights to the site last May. But due to delays in the DMC application process, the company said it would need more time to work out the details.
A representative from Bloom stated Monday that it anticipates having a signed preliminary development agreement by June 30. The company is already working on the project with staff from the city and DMC Economic Development Agency, as well as multiple local design and consulting firms.
“We already … have agreements going on," he said. "[Expect] real work this coming summer.”
City Administrator Stevan Kvenvold said the city is still working out some kinks with the development process for DMC. But he voiced confidence that Bloom was making progress.
Council member Nick Campion stressed the importance of streamlining the process to make sure staff is moving things along as expediently as possible with the collaboration between DMC and local government.
“It’s imperative we figure out how to get everyone through this process," said Campion (related: extended video clip of Campion discussing DMC).
Council member Mark Bilderback appeared most skeptical of the proposal. While he did vote in support of the extension, he also requested more frequent updates on the project.
“It would make me more comfortable if we knew what was going on — if we had periodic updates," said Bilderback.
Bloom's preliminary plans call for apartments, retail space, parking and an up-scale hotel along the riverfront. The proposed project, which would be broken up into multiple phases, also includes public park space.
There is still no price tag on the proposal, though Kvenvold said it has the potential to help the city reach the $200 million threshold of new private development needed for state funding to become available for public infrastructure projects under DMC.
Also at Monday's meeting
The council passed a $259 million budget for 2016 that includes funding for 22 new staff positions, nine of which are in public safety. The 6.9 percent property tax levy is the same as the one set last year, and lower than the preliminary projection of 8 percent.
The developer behind the St. Marys hotel proposal received the OK to come back and present its development plan on Feb. 1. The project has experienced delays in the development process while working with the city and DMC EDA. The developer wants $5.6 million in TIF money for the $63 million project, some of which would be used to build a tunnel connecting the hotel with the hospital.
(Cover graphic: Council agenda packet)