It all started with a phone call shortly after July 4th of this year.
“We called Bob up and asked him if he'd put some people together to see if this could be an opportunity,” says Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of PAETEC Communications who, just three months ago, approached the City of Rochester about relocating PAETEC’s world headquarters downtown.
“And I said, Arunas, if you do that, I will hold a parade in your honor down Main Street,” Mayor Bob Duffy recalled the conversation with both humor and happiness, “I called the governor's cell phone and he called me back within the hour.”
“We're investing in Downtown to make sure the jobs are here, that people want to be here,” says Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) New York in his announcement of Midtown’s plans on Tuesday, “it is 10 acres large and right in the middle of downtown and it represents a symbolic impediment, to everyone who visits downtown Rochester, it represents decline, decay rather than the beauty and vitality that truly characterizes downtown.”
While there are still shops in
“It is filled with asbestos, it's so cost-prohibitive to do anything in here and it's been on the market for God knows how long,” says Duffy, “I've been on the monorail, I've come here for Christmases probably since I was 10 years old, my family would come down here, there's a lot of memories here but it's time for all of us to move on to a new Rochester.”
Duffy wants to have Midtown Plaza demolished within a year and a half, shovel-ready for PAETEC to construct its 500,000 square foot headquarters. In order to move quickly on the project, the City is making plans to have
“A very aggressive schedule would have us at about a year and a half to have a shovel ready site prepared for construction and have us at about 2-plus years for PAETEC to construct their building,” says Duffy.
The State will provide roughly $50 million dollars in funding to demolish Midtown Plaza. PAETEC will be responsible for the cost of building its headquarters which is estimated at being a taller building than Xerox. The new construction will allow PAETEC to add another 400 jobs to its office, bringing 1000 jobs total to Rochester.
“Everyone wants to work in a place that's helping the community and we think this is really going to help a lot of other companies decide that they want to commit to downtown,” says Chesonis.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2011.