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Project moving forward

Rochester Business Journal
February 28, 2014

Construction is slated to begin this summer on the first phase of Alexander Park North. The project, expected to cost roughly $25 million, will include retail and residential space.

The project is the first of two phases on the final undeveloped piece of the 16-acre site, said Ken Glazer, director of development and architectural services for Buckingham Properties LLC.

Buckingham—ranked first on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of real estate developers—purchased the former Genesee Hospital property in 2006, five years after the hospital had been closed by the Rochester General Health System.

Upon completion within the next five years, Buckingham plans to have 220 residential units, nearly 200,000 square feet of office space, retail space and a parking garage for up to 700 cars on the site, near Monroe Avenue and Alexander Street.

On Tuesday, the company received City Council approval for a zoning change on eight acres on the north side of the parcel. The change to C-2 zoning from institutional planned development allows the project to move forward, Glazer said.

The first phase will include constructing a six-story building and a four-story building that will have retail space on the bottom floor and roughly 140 market-rate apartments on the upper floors. The phase will also include the development of two stand-alone retail buildings.

The next step for the project is obtaining approvals from the state Department of Transportation and starting utility work. Glazer expects construction to begin in August and be completed in 12 to 18 months.

The site already has garnered interest, he said.

“There is so little new construction for residential (use) in the area, and people are really excited to see new architecture,” Glazer said. “We’ve done market studies for the site, and everything that comes back says, ‘Build these units as fast as you can.’”

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corp., said this project is one of many successfully undertaken in the city by Buckingham, which is led by CEO Laurence Glazer.

“Larry has become one of the most significant developers in downtown in the last 50 years,” Zimmer-Meyer said, noting that her office jokingly calls the Alexander Street area of the project “Glazerville” because of the number of properties Buckingham owns there.

Buckingham excels at refurbishing existing structures, as well as developing new buildings that complement urban settings, she said. The firm also excels at filling spaces, whether they are residential, office or retail.

Glazer said the apartments at Alexander Park North, which will include studio, one- and two-bedroom units with outdoor patios, will have shared amenities, including a large green space where he expects events such as concerts and picnics to be held.

The units are geared for young professionals, couples with a single child and empty nesters.

Plans also call for the development of a stand-alone brick building called the center wing, which has been cleaned up and is ready to be developed for mixed use.

The final phase will include the large parking garage, as well as additional residential units.

The south end of Alexander Park is fully developed with Earthlink Inc., an 80,000-square-foot office building, a 20,000-square-foot medical building and a Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. branch.

Buckingham already owns several properties on a block of Alexander Street adjacent to Alexander Park, which the firm has developed into mixed-use properties.

Buckingham also is redeveloping the Midtown Tower through Midtown Tower LLC, a partnership with Morgan Management LLC.

The $59 million redevelopment project, now known as the Tower at Midtown, is slated to get underway in the spring and comprises 179 residential rental units and some 160,000 square feet of commercial space on the first three to five floors of the tower and the former plaza area.

2/28/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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