More federal money is on the way to help redevelop the former Midtown plaza site where PAETEC was going to build its world headquarters.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Wednesday a $2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration. In a July letter to the EDA head, he argued the money would allow critical redevelopment of the 17-story Midtown tower into a multi-tenant residential and commercial complex.
Additionally, he said this would pave the way for the Arkansas-based Windstream, which is acquiring PAETEC, to move forward with plans to construct its headquarters in Rochester. Windstream has not revealed its plans.
“This EDA investment is terrific news for the city of Rochester and will create jobs and breathe new life into the heart of downtown Rochester,” Schumer said in a release. “I have long fought for the Midtown Plaza project to be a new job-creating economic hub, and pushed the EDA to select the city of Rochester for this competitive grant.”
Schumer said without the federal investment, city taxpayers would be forced to make up the funding difference.
Infrastructure improvements on the 8-acre Midtown site include construction of new streets, sidewalks, lighting and utilities and are designed to attract companies to the downtown area and create opportunities for business development, expansion and retention.
Schumer said the city of Rochester applied for the grant, successfully competing against other applicants from a wide region. The grant application period closed June 10, since which Schumer has driven “a full court press” to ensure that Rochester received the money, which is part of the EDA’s award program administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“This is great news for the city of Rochester,” Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport says in a separate release. “We know that Rochester is a world-class city that has inspired world-class companies to thrive and the Midtown site has the potential to be yet another hub of economic pride for our city.”
She noted a shovel-ready Midtown site will speed development, which she is convinced will lead to new jobs and millions of dollars in private investment in the center city.
The money is in addition to $1 million she secured in 2009 for infrastructure improvements through a Department of Transportation grant.
“Thanks to the hard work of our project team and the legislative assistance of Congresswoman Slaughter, we are re-making the heart of our downtown,” Mayor Thomas S. Richards said. “In a time when funding for many projects is in question, I am proud to say that the Midtown Rochester Rising project is on time and on budget.”