Two of the area’s biggest developers have partnered on the purchase of a garage downtown in a move they say will help address public concerns on where to park in the city.
Buckingham Properties LLC and Morgan Management LLC signed a deal with the city last week to buy the Midtown Parking Garage for $5 million. They were selected after a request for proposals went out for the garage, which has 1,688 parking spaces.
Buckingham and Morgan already own Tower280 at Midtown, which is connected to the garage.
Ken Glazer, Buckingham’s managing partner, said the garage not only gives Tower280 tenants, businesses and patrons a place to park, it also provides parking options for others coming to downtown.
Glazer sees the Midtown garage as a community entity, noting parking is a key element of the success of downtown redevelopment.
Key priorities for the garage will be safety and efficiency, he said. The garage will have security and operations staff on-site.
“With more people coming downtown, we want them to be able to shop or have a meal and get in and out without a headache,” he said.
Buckingham already owns a few garages in the city—a total of 4,600 parking spaces—through its entity, Buckingham Parking Solutions. They include the garage at Alexander Park and St. Joseph’s garage, which is located behind Sibley Square at North Clinton Avenue and Pleasant Street.
Richard Finley, Buckingham’s chief operating officer, said the firm’s experience with parking garages will be an asset since Buckingham knows effective ways to use the space.
For example, it is possible to have evening parking options in spaces where downtown workers park in the daytime.
“Our goal is to make sure it is run properly,” Finley said.
Lack of downtown parking has been a public concern. Glazer, however, believes there is ample parking for those who want to come to the city.
The St. Joseph’s garage, for example, is a prime location for parking not only for Tower280, but also whatever project the city chooses for Parcel 5.
The city received five proposals for the Parcel 5 lot, including one focused on open space, a performing arts center and others for mixed-use development.
Tower280 at Midtown, a $59 million mixed-use project on the site of the former Midtown Plaza, opened last year. The project includes 181 luxury apartments, Branca Italian restaurant and office space, including Bergman Associates’ corporate headquarters.
Glazer said the project has done well, noting 177 residential units are filled and the renewal rate for the apartments is at 85 percent.
The success of Branca also has generated interest in the commercial market, Finley said, noting a large national retailer is interested in the site.
Buckingham ranked first on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of real estate developers. The firm is working on plans to develop Parcel 2, also at the former Midtown Plaza site, into a mixed-use building.
Morgan either owns outright or is a partner in a slew of properties in Rochester, ranging from the Hyatt Regency Rochester to the proposed Court Street apartments overlooking the Genesee River.
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