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Business tenants excited about renovations

The Metropolitan is home to a cluster of commercial tenants, including technology companies, a law firm, an employee benefits firm, an advertising firm and a bank.

Space is available for an additional nine tenants, depending on the size of each company, officials said. The third, fourth and ninth floors of the building are still open for occupancy.

The group of tenants is ideal so far, said Lauren Gallina, marketing director for Gallina Development Corp., which acquired the building in 2015.

“As a true mixed-use building should be, we have a great mix of demographics with our current tenants,” she said. “We have everyone from the creative class with cutting-edge technology firms, to more traditional suit-and-tie businesses. This provides a great environment for people to work.”

The current commercial tenants include Forsythe, Howe, O’Dwyer, Kalb & Murphy P.C.; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; 5Linx Enterprises Inc.; U.S. Employee Benefits Services Group; Datto Inc.; and BrandMint.

“When we learned about the plans for the building and walked through the space, we knew we wanted to be part of this vision,” said Tammy Gurowski communications manager of U.S. Employee Benefits Services. “Our firm has always been downtown, so the decision to stay was an easy one.

“We believe strongly that the revitalization of downtown Rochester can only be successful with a strong economic core. The plans for mixed use will encourage a sustainable foundation, combining business, residential, retail and restaurant development.”

The vision of the Metropolitan has helped excite current tenants for the future, Gallina said. The building’s renovations are anticipated to be completed in late spring to early summer.

“Our commercial tenants are excited to be a part of the changes going on in the building,” she said. “They don’t mind the construction because they know what is on the other side. Many have worked in the building for a long time and are happy to come into work every day to see what is new. We appreciate our tenants’ patience with us as we continue to make improvements, and are grateful they are able to share in our vision.”

Some features of the Metropolitan that are attractive to tenants include valet parking, the views of downtown Rochester, proximity to local sites such as the East End, and being situated in the center of the city.

“When we travel to other cities and see the vibrancy and quality of life that’s available, we hope to see that vitality back in downtown Rochester,” Gurowski said. “Being a tenant at the Metropolitan is our commitment to the investments being made in our city. We’re at the epicenter of our future.”

Being part of the transformation of the heart of Rochester is a reason why Datto has moved into the Metropolitan, said Robert Poltrino, Rochester operations manager of the firm.

“The Metropolitan building is going through a massive overhaul and at Datto we were impressed with Gallina Development’s approach to the improvements,” Poltrino said. “Our focus is attracting the best possible talent while also helping to rejuvenate downtown Rochester. The proximity to RIT, the University of Rochester and SUNY schools meets this criterion for Datto.

“Overall, downtown is transforming to a true metropolitan city with mixed-use buildings, restaurants and entertainment. It was a natural fit for Datto.”

The flexibility of Gallina Development has helped tenants make their mark on their workspace. 

“Gallina Development has been a tremendous partner in the way they listen to our vision for how we want to transform the space,” Poltrino said. “They are helpful in the way they make suggestions for potential additional amenities. This will provide our employees with an amazing work experience.”

The law firm Forsythe, Howe, O’Dwyer, Kalb & Murphy has been downtown for all 67 years of its operation. The firm has signed a three-year lease with Gallina Development.

“We represent a lot of banks, and so we have a lot of mortgage borrowers who need to close their loans, and they don’t want to come downtown because they don’t know where to park or where to go,” said Duncan O’Dwyer, partner of the firm. “And once Andy (Gallina) has this valet parking they’ll be able to drive up to the front door and come in and close the loan right on Clinton Avenue. We love being downtown.”

The transformation of the building will pay off, O’Dwyer said.

“Andy is spending a ton of money on this building to bring it up to be a first-class operation,” he said. “It’s going to bring a lot of life to downtown. It will be a wonderful thing for the city of Rochester. He’s taking risk but I think it will be good risk; it will pay off in the end.”

The changes are exciting to be part of, Datto’s Poltrino said.

“Datto is thrilled to be a part of the transformation and looks forward to what is already in the works,” he said. “The entire Gallina Development family has embraced Datto and is always available to support their tenants. As we move into the future our relationship will only strengthen.”

While the tenant mix is strong, it will take more companies to believe in the downtown area and the Metropolitan for true success long term. Rochestarians need to get excited about the center city again, Lauren Gallina said.

“We think that office space is still a vital part of what will make our downtown continue to grow,” she said. “The focus right now is on a lot of the residential coming online, but the office market is still quite anemic.

“We must continue to work together to attract businesses to our downtown, because they want to be a part of the revitalization and the excitement that is happening all around, and an experience that they can’t have in a suburban office park.”

 

 

2/24/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net. 

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