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Money talks

If you follow the money in Rochester these days, it’s likely to lead you to the center city, where at long last action is outpacing talk about downtown revitalization.

This week’s news of Gallina Development Corp.’s purchase of Chase Tower is only the latest example of developers—most of them locally based—investing in the future of downtown. Others include deals to acquire the former Bausch & Lomb Inc. headquarters (renamed Legacy Tower) and Xerox Square, and the ongoing renovation of the Tower at Midtown.

The early driving force for this activity was Laurence Glazer, who individually or through Buckingham Properties LLC pursued one opportunity after another. He acquired the B&L building with David Flaum of Flaum Management Co. and Robert Morgan of Morgan Management LLC, and bought Xerox Square with a group of investors. He took on the Midtown project as a joint venture with Mr. Morgan.

When Mr. Glazer and his wife, Jane, tragically died in a plane crash last September, many people feared this would stall downtown’s progress. But the Glazer family’s commitment at Buckingham Properties has remained strong.

The activity is centered at and around the Midtown site. The Pike Co. Inc. owns the new building housing Windstream Corp. and has a deal with the Democrat and Chronicle Media Group to construct an adjacent structure. DHD Ventures LLC has renovation plans for 50 Chestnut St. and 88 Elm St. Meanwhile, WinnDevelopment Inc.’s renovation of the Sibley Building continues.

It’s worth noting that most of these investments involve local developers, many of whom have deep ties to the community. (And Winn, though Boston-based, has a long track record of urban revitalization work.)

Notable, too, is the fact many of the projects have a residential component—increasing the number of people living downtown is key to restoring vitality to the center city.

None of these investments are sure bets. Together, though, they are a very positive sign for the heart of the city.

3/20/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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