Developers at the Port of Rochester are working to meet a June 30 deadline to show the city that they have the financial commitments to proceed with the hotel and condominium project.
Edgewater Resources expects to submit revised plans this week — increasing the size and cost of the first phase, though not the building height, while shifting the location to meet design guidelines.
"He went back to the drawing board, and it took a lot longer than anticipated," Zina Lagonegro, the city's planning and zoning director, said of Edgewater principal and president Greg Weykamp. "That length of time has a lot of people asking questions."
The city informed Edgewater of the deadline late last week, Weykamp said. Doing so was about holding people accountable and keeping the project on track, city spokesman James Smith said, dismissing any notion that the city had soured on the project or its developer. The development has faced continued opposition from some residents.
Getting the site plan and financing nailed down would clear the way for a land sale agreement and, ultimately, construction. Weykamp said he expects to be able to begin building within 90 days of getting the financial commitments secured.
Edgewater is still finalizing revisions, but Weykamp said the project cost now stands at roughly $40 million. The building remains at 10 stories, with a 68-room boutique hotel, 27 condos, a spa and restaurant. The structure also has moved from the northeast to northwest corner of what is today a city-owned parking lot at the corner of Lake Avenue and Corrigan Street.
That shift allows the building to fit within design guidelines, without special exceptions, and provided space to add about a dozen hotel rooms. Those design guidelines were specifically written for the port area, with Edgewater's assistance. To then override those rules with special exceptions would have "sent a bad message," Lagonegro said.
"There are a lot of things going on, obviously. That is a piece of it," Weykamp said of the site plan revision. "Our focus ... has been much more on the financing. That has been a more challenging piece."
One of the more involved and time-consuming aspects, controversial among some critics, has been the reliance on foreign investors through the federal government's EB-5 program. Working through U.S. Customs and Immigration was a laborious, six-month process, Weykamp said, but "that is all done, and the project is being actively marketed overseas now." Edgewater will rely on short-term financing until the EB-5 funding comes through, he said.
Asked about his confidence in meeting the June 30 deadline, Weykamp said it was the company's focus but added: "We're not done until we're done." Weykamp plans to meet again with the community, once the city has a chance to review the revised plans and is agreeable to the changes.
"Obviously, it has not gone as fast as we'd like," he said of getting to this point. "What we are proposing to build up there is a new thing. It's not the easiest thing. ... We could have funded rental three times over by now. But we have held firmly to our commitment with the city to owner-occupied (housing), and that's a lift here in Rochester."
Edgewater expects the project to generate a total of 600 jobs, of which 310 would be in its construction.
- New York
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