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City receives performing arts center proposals, one with casino

The city of Rochester has received two proposals to build a performing arts center—one along with a casino–at Midtown’s Parcel Five on East Main Street, Mayor Lovely Warren announced Monday.

The city received a comprehensive draft proposal from the Seneca Nation of Indians outlining its desire to build a performing arts center with a gaming facility at the site. A second draft proposal was submitted in conceptual form by a consortium of casino operators and other possible yet-to-be-identified investors who would partially fund a stand-alone performing arts center.

The second proposal was submitted on behalf of Thomas Wilmot, chairman of Wilmorite Management Group LLC, which is developing the $440 million del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, Seneca County.

“A world-class performing arts center in the heart of our city would be a game changer for downtown Rochester, drawing tourists from across the region and creating jobs for the people in the neighborhoods where they are most needed,” Warren said. “A performing arts center project will bring activity to downtown and, when combined with gaming, also holds vast job-creating potential.

“As mayor, I need to keep an open mind to all job-creating projects and I am grateful that we have received interest in our downtown and specifically Parcel Five. By bringing job-creating projects that will complement the new development that is underway downtown, we can achieve critical mass in the rebirth of our center city.”

The mayor said she will listen to and assess any project that holds the potential to bring jobs to this city’s residents and she looks forward to learning more about the specifics of these proposals.

The Seneca Gaming Corp. proposal states it has the potential to create thousands of good-paying, permanent jobs in downtown. It combines a 3000-seat performing arts center with a gaming-entertainment center. The performing arts center could hold up to 150 shows a year, including Broadway plays and concerts. The proposal does not call for a hotel or a signature franchise restaurant.

The Wilmot proposal calls for bringing 400 jobs to Rochester. In partnership with RochesterWorks Inc. and their participating job training programs, the organizers of Wilmorite, Delaware North and Batavia OTB will source 400 full-time-equivalent jobs from the city of Rochester. It also describes a plan for funding construction and development of a Rochester performing arts facility for Rochester Broadway Theatre League performances.

Project descriptions of each proposal, as submitted, can be seen at: www.cityofrochester.gov/pacparcel5.

(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


One comment

  1. Since we are only at the conceptual proposal stage; I would first before moving to any next stage; make sure that what the City wants to do based on the breadth of those proposals that in particular a Casino is approved before moving to any next round of “Final Proposals.”

    I also believe we are Casino overloaded now. My pitch with the State for a Casino is differentiation; if that is the selected course option; is to seek licensure approvals all lined up to allow sports betting. No other Casino I know of outside of Las Vegas or off-shore via the Internet; has sports betting. This would make any Casino plan different and more attractive to draw in more visitors to the City of Rochester. Just having “yet another Casino” is a high risk to consider given the saturation levels. I would also, politically speaking, make it exclusive only to Rochester, NY sports betting – somehow, I doubt we have such clout in Albany though.

    But having all our necessary ducks lined up first is a step closer to reality or limitations before pushing for “Final Proposals.” We don’t want another “Fast Ferry” or “Medley Center.” Learn from the past.

    Now, for “Final Proposals” unlike a few things in our past; I would make it a condition to prove with no uncertainties that those interested parties have legal binding financial documents in place demonstrating they have procured the necessary funds for their proposal through an irrevocable Letter of Credit. Said proof of financing as irrevocable and upon the award of their proposal should also include a Performance Bond at 110% of their Proposed project. They stop building; walk away; the City gets all the money from the Bond.

    Under no circumstances should property tax abatement’s or deferrals be offered. This just shifts those burden’s then on the City of Rochester taxpayers. This is a for-profit and in the case of a Casino, highly profitable. There is no need for any incentives from any taxpayer source.

    Otherwise, all businesses in the City of Rochester should not have to pay property taxes or any other breaks given as otherwise it is inequitable.

    Do not allow a Performing Arts Center if they are going to be a non-profit entity as once again; that shirks property taxes that cover for City Services and the School system also.

    Pay to play. No more Government giveaways unless they are fair and equal for every business.

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