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Governor Hochul Celebrates Start of Construction for Mixed-Use Revitalization Project in Downtown Rochester

Harper’s Corner Will Transform Long-Blighted Corner into Commercial Space and 11 Affordable Apartments

Renovation of Four Historic Buildings is Part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Investment Complements Finger Lakes Forward, the Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction has begun on a $12.7 million project to rehabilitate four historic commercial buildings into Harper’s Corner, a mixed-use community with ground-floor commercial space and 11 residential apartments above.

“We are breathing new life into Rochester’s historic downtown in a way that is emblematic of our rich history and sets us up for a vibrant future,” Governor Hochul said. “Our Downtown Revitalization Initiative, combined with talented developers and homegrown ideas, is a recipe for miraculous change. This derelict block will soon be a lively shopping destination with new affordable homes that will bring community back to the corner of Clinton and Main.”

In the early 1900s, the corner of Clinton and Main was a prime destination for shopping, working, and gathering. Over the last 40 years, businesses abandoned the corner leaving it desolate and dilapidated. The city of Rochester made its rehabilitation a priority in their application to the State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and is using $4 million of their $10 million DRI award to renovate the residential portions of the four buildings. New York Homes and Community Renewal is administering those funds. Construction of the ground floor commercial spaces is funded through a collection of programs, including HCR’s Community Investment Fund, which supports the creation, preservation, and improvement of affordable mixed-use developments. The storefronts will be marketed to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses and other local enterprises.

Work will include restoration of the building façade to preserve the remaining architectural features, including to structurally repair the historic storefronts to the National Park Service standards. The building is designed to be rehabilitated to all-electric mechanical systems for heating, cooling, and hot water, and to meet high energy efficiency standards that comply with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) New Construction – Housing Program and with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor airPLUS program.

HCR funding for both the commercial and residential portions of Harper’s Corner includes $4 million through DRI and $2 million in CIF. The project will receive $3.9 million in Federal and NYS Historic Tax Credits syndicated by Bank on Buffalo; $2.4 million through the City of Rochester, which includes $710,000 through Empire State Development’s Restore NY initiative, a total of $1 million through the public and privately funded Regional Revitalization Partnership and $22,000 from NYSERDA

The development team is Home Leasing, Inc. as developer and management agent.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Behind the complex funding of this $12.7 million restoration project is a deep determination to respect our heritage and provide for the needs of modern Rochester. As Governor Hochul has shown, homes and business are the keys to this city, and we intend to honor our commitment to provide both. Thank you to our partners, Homes Leasing, the City of Rochester and our sister agencies. It takes a concerted effort to make this sort of dream come true and I am proud of our team for making it possible.”

Empire State Development President and CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “This game-changing project is set to transform a blighted city block at the intersection of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue into a vibrant downtown Rochester hub. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s vision through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, RESTORE NY and Regional Revitalization Partnership programs, four vacant and dilapidated buildings are ready to be adaptively reused, carefully rehabilitated and reimagined as a beautiful, mixed-use destination.”

Read the full press release here.