Three-quarters of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support the city of Rochester’s agreement with Paetec Holding Corp. for Paetec to build its headquarters at the former Midtown site.
Paetec and the city signed a long-awaited agreement last week for the Perinton-based company to move its headquarters operation to a new 3.5-story, 225,000-square-foot building at the former Midtown site. The $55 million project would be completed by June 2013, city officials said, and bring 1,000 Paetec employees downtown.
The agreement calls for Paetec to pay for parking at a discounted rate. The firm also will have a measure of control over uses of other Midtown parcels and right of first refusal on an adjacent lot. It will obtain $34 million in loans, use $5 million of its own equity and occupy the facility for 20 years. Over that period, the city will realize tax revenue of $22 million, city officials said.
The deal calls for the city to provide the land and some superstructure and also to arrange for Paetec to receive a $16.5 million federal loan.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents believe that Paetec moving its headquarters to the former Midtown site will be a catalyst for more private investment downtown. Twenty percent say it will not have much impact, with 6 percent predicting no impact at all.
More than 575 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Jan. 3 and 4.
Do you support or oppose the city’s agreement with Paetec to build its headquarters at Midtown?
City officials say the Paetec move will be a catalyst for more private investment downtown. Do you agree?
Not very much:
Not at all:
The question that one must ask is, "What are the consequences of doing nothing?" Keep in mind that the city, Mayor Duffy and our strong local delegation were able to extract $55 million from Albany to fund the demolition of the Midtown block, at a time that was literally just months prior to the national meltdown of our credit markets and state spending freeze. Imagine trying to get that state allocation at any time in the past 24 months! Not a chance. Paetec is bringing more than 1,000 people downtown who are not there now. Their commitment will spur others to join in the resurgence of our great city. I applaud their vision, patronage to the city and its bright future.
I’m glad we are keeping a company downtown. I’m glad we are putting a location to good use. I hope this helps revitalize downtown to some degree. Why am I so pessimistic?
This is just plain foolish. Why do we think that bringing a company from the suburbs to the city is going to act as a "catalyst" to business growth in Rochester. Think with your heads for one minute. We want to waste both private and public resources to move a Rochester-based company 12 miles. Oh, and we want to steal from the taxpayers to fund it. Only if you worked for the government could you possibly find a way to make sense out of this in your own head-no value-add to the community whatsoever. Meanwhile, we are driving good companies out of upstate as quickly as possible. Shocker that we are running a huge deficit.
-Devon Michaels, Chili
I agree with Mayor Richards that the goal is not to try to re-create what downtown Rochester has been in the past (e.g., a hub for retail shopping), but rather to create a vibrant, self-sustaining economic center for the future that will generate business and employment opportunities and tax revenues. The key is getting to "critical mass," and this is one big step in that direction.
-John Messenger, Paetec
As the Chase, Xerox, HSBC and First Federal towers have proven, office workers are not the saviors of downtown. Those megaprojects all went up in the 1960s and 1970s as saviors, yet downtown’s decline continued unabated. We are demolishing one of those old saviors (Midtown) right now to make way for the building whose financial deal is the subject of this poll. The names and the suits change, but the mistaken assumptions remain! More people living in the city, specifically downtown, is what would save the city center. The reason the city is in the economic shape it is in and the reason the stores left Main Street is easy to see to the simple person, like me. People abandoned the city for the suburbs, and the retail followed. Simple. Still, I do support the Paetec deal as it is a much better outcome than having a gigantic hole where Midtown Plaza used to be.
-Dan Palmer, author/historian, Rochester
It is a very positive thing to fill Midtown’s space. The addition of a large number of jobs to downtown can only help it survive and create opportunities for service jobs to support those workers as well.
-Jon Wilder, H&W Technology
The move of Paetec to the downtown location is not a panacea but is a positive step in the right direction. Much work is needed to bring other companies into downtown and support that with infrastructure (roads, parking, public safety) and appropriate retail/hospitality.
For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com. To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at staging.rbj.net/dailyreport.
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