Maven allowed limited flexibility on the first floor

Rochester City Council provided some flexibility in expanding the potential use to include restaurants, but drew the line to office space.

“My feeling would be that this developer made a deal with the city with the idea of ​​delivering something that the city wanted,” said Patrick Keane, board member.

RELATED: The Maven Seeks First Floor Flexibility

When plans for the building that occupies the Broadway space at First Avenue were approved in 2017, the joint venture of Opus Development Co., Titan Development and Berkshire Group was allowed to nearly double the density of standard apartments for the area. by agreeing to commit to first floor space west side for commercial use.

Peter Coyle, a land use attorney representing the mixed-use complex at 429 S. Broadway, said the space was difficult to fill.

“We proceeded in good faith believing that we could achieve it, but we weren’t able to do it,” he said, suggesting that a restaurant could also be an elusive tenant.

“As we’ve all learned over the past year and a half, being in the retail or hospitality industries is a pretty tough business to do,” he said. “A lot of businesses couldn’t survive there, so we think we need to look for more tenants. ”

Council members Mark Bransford, Shaun Palmer and Molly Dennis initially agreed to the request, voting to allow the use of the offices, as well as the use of the restaurants.

“It’s been a pretty tough endeavor to fill those retail (spaces),” Bransford said, adding that the imposition of limits could deter other developers from building in Rochester.

“We have to let them earn money,” he added. “They have mortgages like everyone else. ”

What happened: Rochester City Council unanimously backed The Maven’s permission to add a restaurant option to its first floor along Southwest First Avenue, but mapped out the office line.

Why is this important: The Maven was looking for the possibility of adding a restaurant or office space on the first floor after failing to attract a retail business to the space, which was required by a deal with the city to approve an apartment density. additional on the site.

And after: The Maven will be authorized to search for a restaurant tenant for the site

Council member Nick Campion expressed concern that the granting of office space could violate the development agreement which provided for additional funding of $ 3.8 million for the $ 38 million project. of dollars.

Deputy city administrator Cindy Steinhauser said the incentives were tied to adding retail space on the first floor, which would add complications if offices were allowed.

Keane said more conversations would be needed to find a way to authorize use of the office.

“I would be open to hearing a discussion about the changes that reduce the amount of the TIF, because the city is not getting what it thought it was getting,” he said.

The board ended the discussion with a unanimous vote to approve the use of the restaurant and deny the use of the office.

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