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A tower reborn

When the decision was made to leave Midtown Tower standing while razing Midtown Plaza, many viewed it as a big gamble. And at more than a few points, it appeared the skeptics likely would be proved right.

But no longer. Today, the renamed Tower280 at Midtown stands as a testament to the vision of a few and the hard work of many.

Redevelopment plans for the tower date to not long after the plaza closed in July 2008. But Tower280 really began to take shape after Laurence Glazer, CEO of Buckingham Properties LLC, signed on to the project in December 2012. Buckingham replaced Christa Development Corp. as partner with Morgan Management LLC.

When Mr. Glazer joined forces with Robert Morgan, president and CEO of Morgan Management, the project underwent subtle but important changes; condos were dropped from the plans and ground-floor retail added. The total cost was reduced.

Challenges remained, though. Chief among them was financing. As described in this week’s RBJ special section on Tower280, the money still was not in place when Mr. Glazer and his wife died tragically in a September 2014 plane accident. Mr. Morgan and Ken Glazer, Laurence and Jane Glazer’s son, committed to finishing the tower redevelopment.

“This is what (Laurence Glazer) would have wanted,” Mr. Morgan says. “I said, somehow, some way we’re going to get this done.”

Tower280, of course, is only one of several key projects at or near Midtown. The Pike Co. Inc. has redeveloped the Seneca Building; Gallina Development Corp. is bringing the Metropolitan to life in the former Chase Tower; DHD Ventures LLC has work underway nearby; and WinnDevelopment Inc.’s transformation of Sibley Square continues.

No project, however, has meant more to the renewed faith in downtown than Tower280.

“The city’s in this huge momentum swing, and this was the catalyst,” Ken Glazer told RBJ. “A lot of things were hinging on us showing the world this can work. Downtown is ready.”

Indeed, it is.

11/18/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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