05.10.10

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT TO FIGHT FOR CRITICAL FUNDS FOR KEY COMPONENT OF ROCHESTER'S MIDTOWN PLAZA REVITALIZATION PROJECT

Funding Will Provide for Infrastructure Improvements Necessary for Completion of ProjectDevelopment Expected to Attract Hundreds of Millions in Private Investment and Create or Maintain 1500 Jobs in City of RochesterSchumer: This Project Will Play a Vital Role in Rochester's Future

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is fighting to secure vital funding for the Midtown Plaza Revitalization project. During an appearance at the Midtown Plaza, Schumer said that the funds would provide for critical upgrades to roads and other pieces of infrastructure to allow employees and residents to reach the development - improvements that must be made in order for the project to be complete.  The Midtown Revitalization project is expected to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment and create or maintain 1,500 jobs, and will play a huge role in the future of Rochester.

"The future of the City of Rochester and the success of Midtown Plaza are linked," Schumer said. "Investing in Midtown will create jobs for people in Rochester and serve as an anchor for a growing and thriving city and region."

"It's full speed ahead for the Midtown Rochester Rising project," Mayor Robert J. Duffy said. "We are moving forward with our asbestos cleanup and preparing for the announcement of our demolition contract to make way for the transformation of the 8.4 acres on this vital Center City site. I'd like to express my thanks and appreciation to Sen. Schumer for once again showing his strong support for Rochester and the Midtown project."

"On behalf of Governor Paterson and Empire State Development, I'd like to thank Senator Schumer for all the support he is lending to the important redevelopment efforts at Midtown," said Dennis M. Mullen, Empire State Development Chairman & CEO designate.  "Both his support of the City's application for funding assistance through the Economic Development Administration and, even more significantly, the Senator's request for an additional $5 million in appropriations to be used for transportation and road infrastructure are significant contributions to the broader redevelopment effort we're undertaking here at Midtown. Senator Schumer has been a terrific partner throughout this process and all of the Midtown project partners are grateful for his continued assistance."

The Midtown Plaza project is projected to result in the creation or retention of over 1,500 jobs and the leveraging of more than $200 million in new investment. It will require significant public investment to ready the site for redevelopment.  Specifically, about $90 million is needed for property acquisition, demolition, remediation, relocation, and infrastructure. The project has already attracted tens of millions in public and private commitments, but more vital funding is needed to bring the project to fruition. Today, Schumer announced his push to secure $5 million in key investments for the projects and made clear that the Midtown revitalization initiative is his top economic development priority in Rochester.  The additional funds will be used to provide important infrastructure upgrades that will bolster already committed funds by clearing the way for the project's completion.  Schumer said that although he was pushing for $5 million through the Congressional appropriations process, the final amount could be between $1 and $5 million.  He said the final amount will could be known as early as September, as the Congressional budgetary process comes to a close.

Schumer today also announced that he would be aggressively supporting the city's application to secure funds through the federal Economic Development Agency's Economic Development Assistance Program.  Schumer said that he will be weighing in personally with EDA executive Willie Taylor on the city's behalf.  The city has applied for $3.4 million in funding to construct new streets, sidewalks, lighting, and amenities that will serve the multiple Midtown redevelopment sites.  Without this funding, the City has said that it may not be able to meet its ambitious schedule, which could jeopardize private commitments to the site.

The revitalization of the old Midtown Plaza in the heart of downtown is a key component of Rochester's economic rebuilding strategy. Opened in 1962, Midtown Plaza was one of the first urban shopping malls in the nation. However, beginning in the late 1970s the Midtown area began declining as a retail destination point, and was affected further throughout the 1980s with the rise of the suburban mega malls.  The financial and physical deterioration of Midtown has had a negative impact on the downtown area, including the loss of hundreds of jobs, the loss of significant tax revenue, and serving as a serious hindrance to revitalization of the area.

Schumer has long been a strong supporter of Midtown Plaza. Just last year, Schumer secured $1.4 million in federal funding for the Midtown Plaza Revitalization Project investments that went a long way towards improving Midtown's infrastructure, which is perhaps the most important remaining component of the project. Schumer's push seeks to increase federal investment in the project.  Additional funding will be key to securing the site's future and attracting private investment.

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