Proposal to redevelop Rochester's riverfront clears its first hurdle
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Rochester City Council on Monday unanimously approved a developer's request for exclusive negotiating rights on three parcels of city-owned property along the Zumbro River.
The developer, Abu Dhabi-based Bloom International Realty, now has six months to negotiate the terms of purchase and development agreements needed to facilitate redevelopment of the site.
However, City Council President Randy Staver said the agreement does not mean the city is obligated to follow through with the developer's proposal.
"At the end of the 180 days, we may choose to go a different route," he said.
Bloom's plans call for apartments, retail space, parking and an up-scale hotel along the riverfront. The proposed project, which would be broken up into multiple phases, also includes public park space.
City Council Member Michael Wojcik said the developer has the potential to elevate the quality of development in downtown Rochester.
"If we have local competitors that can step up to this level — and I think we do have some in our community — we welcome them to be part of the process at a later date," said Wojcik. "But this is really taking advantage of an exceptional site in Rochester that we just haven't been able to do in the past."
The waterfront is one of six districts that make up the DMC development plan. Master Planner Peter Cavaluzzi said the goal is to make the area the "sentimental home" for Rochester residents.
"Every great city usually has a great waterfront where people go to relax, have meals and entertain guests," Cavaluzzi said in a March interview with the Med City Beat. "But Rochester never really has realized the potential of the Zumbro River."
The land that Bloom wants to build on includes the AFL Labor Temple, which the city will acquire next January, and two city-owned parking facilities.
There's still no price tag on the project. Bloom also owns the Associated Bank building on South Broadway.
(Cover graphic: Council agenda packet)