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Bloom details $200 million proposal to activate Rochester's downtown riverfront

Bloom details $200 million proposal to activate Rochester's downtown riverfront

Bloom International Realty on Thursday presented the DMC Corporation Board with its plans to redevelop Rochester's downtown riverfront.

The firm, based out of the United Arab Emirates, has spent months working with officials from the city and DMC Economic Development Agency. The land Bloom wants to build on, all of which is owned by the city, runs along the Zumbro River from Second Street SE down to Fourth Street SE. Bloom has had exclusive negotiating rights on the property since last May.

Graphic: Rendering from DMC presentation

Under the proposal, presented by Jonathan Golli, an architect working out of Pittsburgh for the multinational design firm AE7, the multi-use development would be anchored on each end by two large towers.

The street level would include space for retail and restaurants, while the upper floors would be used for more than 100 "high-end, contemporary" condos, as well as apartments, parking, office space and a 4-5 star hotel.

"This is a real home run," said R.T. Rybak, the former Minneapolis mayor and current DMC Corp. board member. "This is really moving in the right direction. It accomplishes a lot of the goals that we want developers to help us accomplish for the public purpose that go beyond the direct benefit of the project."

[Watch the full presentation here - starts about 49 minutes in]

 

The proposal, still in its conceptual phase, would activate the riverfront with restaurants, public green space and expanded access to the water. Plans also call for an indoor winter garden, ice rink and a waterwall for children to play in.

Golli noted the momentum of Historic Third Street, which has blossomed in recent years with new businesses and nightlife, and expressed a desire to pull that pedestrian traffic down to the site.

"We really want to expand the idea of the riverwalk and have a boardwalk with all of the restaurants to draw people to the water," said Golli.

Graphic: Rendering from DMC presentation

Bloom hopes to submit a formal proposal to the city council and DMC Corp. board by the end of 2016. In the meantime, city officials will begin discussing possible financial incentives with the firm. Preliminary estimates put the total cost of the project around $180-$200 million.

Also of note: City Council President Randy Staver said the financing for Broadway at Center, the 22-story Gus Chafoulias project, could be finalized by as early as next Tuesday. "We're hoping to see groundbreaking on this project in the coming weeks," he told the board.


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(Cover graphic: Rendering / AE7)

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