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Skepticism is cheap

Even the skeptics must be impressed with the redevelopment activity under way in downtown Rochester today. Tens of millions of dollars are being pumped into the heart of the city, with much of it focused on the Midtown site.

The nearly 700 people who attended Tuesday’s Rochester Business Journal event on downtown real estate got a fresh glimpse of what some key developers plan to bring to market in the next couple of years. No one is doing more than Robert Morgan, whose Morgan Management LLC is involved in an almost dizzying array of projects including Tower280 at Midtown, the Court Street apartments and the Alliance Building.

Joining Mr. Morgan on the panel was Kenneth Glazer of Buckingham Properties LLC, which has taken the lead on Tower280 while also bringing new life to buildings such as Legacy Tower. And Andrew Gallina, whose Gallina Development Corp. is reinventing the Chase Tower as the Metropolitan, much as he has reworked One East Ave.

What’s more, their efforts are not limited to downtown: Outside the Inner Loop, Morgan Management has notable projects on East and Universities avenues; Buckingham Properties is continuing to build out Alexander Park; and Mark IV Enterprises—also represented on the panel—has renovated 300 Alexander.

Yet many skeptics apparently are not impressed. As the results of this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll show, a large number of people who live in this area—and not just those who rarely venture into the center city—think the state of Rochester is only fair or poor.

No one disputes that Rochester faces serious challenges. And few people, if any, believe that a surge of high-end downtown residential activity alone will transform the city.

But the failure to see any signs of progress seems almost willful.

A number of developers and business owners are putting considerable sums at risk because they believe in the city and its future. Maybe it’s time for more people with little or nothing on the line to believe a bit too.

4/29/2016 (c) 2016 Explore Greater Rochester; Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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