Council rejects Armory proposals, but attaches conditions to possible sale
As expected, the Rochester City Council voted on Wednesday to reject the two proposals for the re-use of the historic Armory building downtown.
The meeting began with a public comment period, in which several people spoke up in support of the Rochester Arts and Cultural Initiative's proposal. A representative from the second proposal, an emergency service veteran museum, said they were dropping their bid for the building and instead supporting the arts and cultural proposal.
After discussion among members, the council voted 5-2 (Campion and Means voting "nay") to begin exploring the possibility of selling the building. However, council members included language to protect the historic structure and to give the ACI the first opportunity to purchase the building if put on the market.
"I suspect the outcome on tonight's Armory discussion was about as good as I could have hoped for going in," council member Michael Wojcik wrote on Facebook. "The ACI proposal seems to have the support of myself, Nick Campion, and Sandra Means. Mark Bilderback introduced some language looking to protect the Armory from demolition, and giving some rights to RACC, should a purchase take place."
Wojcik noted the council did not vote to sell the Armory. However, he said the council did "direct staff to more seriously review the ACI proposal."
The proposal includes support from 103 arts and cultural organizations, groups and individuals; among them, the Rochester Art Center, Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, Rochester Civic Music and the Cambodian Association of Rochester, Minnesota. According to the proposal, "operations will be supported by long term tenant rentals for display, gallery, studio, and office space, and from facility rental fees for events, meetings and activities."
The full proposal can be viewed here.
In other news, the council approved the purchase of the Think Bank facility, located at 4001 West River Parkway NW, for $3.2 million. The Rochester Police Department will use the building as its north precinct.
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)