New York State Department of Financial Services

06/05/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2024 13:42

Governor Hochul Announces 13 Initial Projects Selected to be Funded Through Transformational Regional Revitalization Partnership Initiative in Rochester

June 5, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces 13 Initial Projects Selected to be Funded Through Transformational Regional Revitalization Partnership Initiative in Rochester

Governor Hochul Announces 13 Initial Projects Selected to be Funded Through Transformational Regional Revitalization Partnership Initiative in Rochester

Effort to Provide Nearly $37 Million for the Selected Phase One Projects; Builds on Governor's Focused Efforts to Target and Improve Impoverished Areas in Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls

Initiative Links Private Funders with Municipal Governments to Invest in Economically Distressed Locations in Each City

Partnership Builds on the Governor's $25 Million Investment to Fight Poverty in Rochester

Detailed Map of Rochester RRP Project Locations Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled 13 Rochester focused projects selected to be funded through the city's initial phase of the Regional Revitalization Partnership (RRP), a multi-year collaborative initiative between New York State, local municipalities and private philanthropic partners. The RRP is designed to target economically distressed city neighborhoods. Developed through a collaborative effort, the initiative is a $300 million private and public regional co-investment in three interconnected geographic areas: Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. This community-driven strategy seeks to build local wealth and empower residents using a model that drives economic development through government and philanthropy partnerships. In February, Governor Hochul also outlined an effort that will allocate $25 million in state funds to the City of Rochester to fight poverty - half of a one-time Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families allocation statewide.

"Serving as a model for cities across the nation, this public-private partnership is serving as a catalyst for economic development," Governor Hochul said. "Bytargeting the most underserved neighborhoods in these cities, New York State is lifting up and transforming these disadvantaged communities and building a more equitable future for all New Yorkers."

The selected Rochester-based phase one projects represent a nearly $37 million investment from initiative collaborators and were selected after a review process which included a series of community engagement discussions and initiative requirement evaluations conducted by RRP partners.

The RRP is designed to maximize social and economic impact efforts in these three Upstate cities by co-investing in projects and programs aimed at improving economic conditions to benefit these communities' residents and businesses. Overall, New York State has committed $200 million for the initiative and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, along with other philanthropic and corporate partners, have committed $81 million. The remaining $19 million is coming from city and county governments.

The Three Pillars of the Program:

  • Fostering small businesses, by providing programs to help improve and grow these enterprises, especially those owned by women and people of color, which expand choices for goods/services to these neighborhoods, revenue/income for community members, and job opportunities.
  • Investing in placemaking, by funding improvements to local business districts, rebuilding community anchors and revitalizing neighborhoods.
  • Preparing our workforce, by enhancing local residents' skills and improving their access to opportunities for good-paying jobs.

Components of the RRP were initially announced on April 25, 2022 by Governor Hochul as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget. Overall, Rochester is set to receive a combined $80 million for the effort, which includes major additional investments in the city's ongoing waterfront efforts, such as ROC the Riverway and High Falls State Park; further support/expansion of multi-faceted workforce training programs/facilities; and targeted small business assistance along commercial corridors in that city's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Information regarding additional available RRP funding for Rochester focused projects is available here.

The Selected Rochester Projects to Date:

  • West Main Commercial Corridor Program - The goal of the West Main Street Commercial Corridor Program is to develop a West Main Street district marketing and governance plan and design guidelines and invest in commercial and residential properties in the West Main corridor. This three-year program is expected to be complete in 2027. The targeted area will be West Main Street from State Street to Chili Avenue/Genesee Street. (RRP funding award-$10 million. Total project cost placed at $13.725 million.)
  • Falls Street Remediation at High Falls State Park- This project will remediate two contaminated parcels at 52 and 96 Falls Street, which are critical to the development and ultimate success of the planned New York State Park at High Falls. (RRP funding award-$4 million. Total project cost placed at $4 million)
  • Aqueduct Park District - The historic Aqueduct Campus is at the epicenter of the Roc the Riverway and Aqueduct Reimagined projects and is located on the Genesee River directly adjacent to the Erie Canal aqueduct. While the park is privately owned, an agreement between the property owner and City of Rochester will serve to allow public access and outline a shared maintenance plan. (RRP funding award-$2 million. Total project cost placed at $5 million.)
  • 151 Mt. Hope Riverfront- The "Riverview" development is a high-priority, City owned, 1.5-acre site on the Genesee River in the City's South Wedge neighborhood. The proposed project will fully remediate the site and prepare it for shovel-ready development. (RRP funding award- $2 million. Total project cost placed at $4 million.)
  • The Revitalization Fund for Main Street - The initiative will offer highly flexible gap financing, similar to Restore NY, to property owners and developers seeking to make major investments in mixed-use redevelopment along Main Street in blighted and underutilized buildings. Initiative will create a funding program tailored to the needs of Rochester's Main Street, focused on West Main and the section of Main in close proximity to the Genesee River. (RRP funding award-$2 million. Total project cost placed at $4 million.)
  • Harper's Corner - This economic development project will reimagine and revitalize the distressed but vital corner of East Main Street and North Clinton Avenue in downtown Rochester. The four vacant buildings at the northwest corner of this prominent intersection will be adaptively reused and carefully rehabilitated into a beautiful, mixed-use asset. (RRP funding award- $1million. Total project cost placed at $13 million.)
  • NextCorps- Regional Startup Incubator - NextCorps' startup incubator in the Sibley Building in downtown Rochester is the largest incubator in the region, supporting high-growth, tech-oriented entrepreneurs. Organization plans to use funding to create more room for additional start-up companies and potential partners and provide additional incubation staff support. (RRP funding award-$1.675 million. Total project cost placed at $9.65 million.)
  • Main Street Activation Program - The City of Rochester and the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) will launch the Vacant Storefront Activation Program (VSAP) to provide funding to subsidize rents and/or buildout costs for new, start-up, and/or pop-up retailers, maker spaces, and food/drink establishments. (RRP funding award - $325,000 and total project cost is $1.095 million)
  • YAMTEP - YAMTEP is an anti-poverty, workforce development and employment initiative leveraging the manufacturing industry "know how" to provide training with a goal of matching trainees with employers, filling gaps, providing jobs and career pathways. YAMTEP is aimed at providing the chronically unemployed and unskilled with the training needed to secure and maintain employment. (RRP funding award - $830,000 and total project cost is $2.2 million)
  • RochesterWorks - RochesterWorks will create a School-to-Work Navigator program in City of Rochester high schools to build career readiness skills, provide more focused and extensive career exploration, and help students and families navigate the many resources in the community that exist to connect youth to career pathways, especially those from marginalized communities that are historically underrepresented in the workforce. (RRP award - $620,000 and total project cost is $700,000)
  • Connected Communities- Greenwood Project - Connected Communities has acquired and will renovate essential community spaces for the benefit of the community, including workforce and economic development classes, health and wellness services, after-school support, and a co-working space for neighborhood nonprofits, organized groups, and small businesses. (RRP award - $750,000 and total project cost is $1.7 million.)
  • Training Rochester Adults in Construction Skills or TRACS - a new pre-apprenticeship program developed through a partnership between Rochester Career in Construction, Inc. (RCCI) and Young Adult Manufacturer Training Employment Program (YAMTEP). The four-week program uses the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Apprenticeship Training Program curriculum. (RRP award - $750,000 and total project cost is $1.305 million)
  • EMBARK - EMBARK is aNo-Code Bootcamp and Startup Accelerator Program, developed and run by NextCorps that will train Rochester-area residents on how to become software developers using new "no-code" tools to increase their value to current employers, find new, higher paying employment, and 'side gig' consulting opportunities, or start their own businesses. (RRP award - $400,000 and total project cost is $400,000)

In June 2022, the Governor first announced a combined $180 million effort in Buffalo focusing on an expansion of projects and programs being conducted on that city's historic East Side. This includes undertaking major portions of long-term capital projects, such as: more than $60 million for the Buffalo Central Terminal and its Central Terminal Restoration Corporation steward organization; $37 million for Broadway Market capital improvements and to set up a not-for-profit operating entity; major investments in the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor; and restoring historic greenhouses at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

A combined $40 million effort in Niagara Falls is supplementing initial funding growing out of the ESD/City 2021 planning efforts, including a $19 million program focused on food entrepreneurship anchored around that city's historic City Market area along Pine Avenue; a $15 million program to restore, highlight and promote various heritage and community anchor facilities, like the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center's theatre restoration and improvements to historic Oakwood Cemetery; and $5 million for the Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program, which is providing financial assistance for facade and other building improvements in targeted neighborhood business districts.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, "This strategic initiative, developed with our community partners, includes major investments in both transformative projects and focused programs that will maximize the reach of each state dollar committed. RRP's enterprising tri-city collaboration will bring new opportunity to marginalized neighborhoods and serve as a model that can be replicated throughout New York State."

President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation David Egner said, "These strategic and community-led investments coming to Rochester through the Regional Revitalization Partnership demonstrate the scale and impact that is possible when the public sector and philanthropy creatively partner together. When combined with the coordinated investments in East Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the RRP's unique approach to place-based economic development has the potential to drive transformational impact that will benefit the entire region."

President and CEO of ESL Federal Credit Union Faheem Masood said, "ESL is inspired by the continued public and private collaboration to bring these critical projects to life in Rochester. We are committed to helping our community thrive and prosper, and the positive impact of these projects can increase the vibrancy of our great city for people and businesses. This is all while helping to ensure those who call Rochester home have access to affordable, quality housing, as well as access to quality employment opportunities."

Chief Program Officer with The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation Megan Bell said, "The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation is proud of the entrepreneurial legacy of our founder and city. Our commitment to the Rochester Revitalization Partnership lies in our belief that small businesses and an educated workforce transform lives. This partnership has helped us leverage our work both financially and strategically with our colleagues in state and local leadership.

President & CEO of Evans Bank David J. Nasca said, "After seeing first-hand the transformative power that East Side Avenues has had in Buffalo, Evans Bank is delighted to support the Regional Revitalization Partnership Initiative in Rochester. We look forward to seeing similar impacts from these projects being announced today and to watching the far-reaching results this public/private collaboration will have on this entire community for decades to come."

Five Star Bank President and CEO Martin K. Birmingham said, "As a local community bank, we take great pride in our role supporting this region's individuals and families, businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in meaningful ways, guided by conversation, connection and collaboration with our neighbors. The RRP is a tremendous example of that approach in action. The partnership taking place through this program will ensure Rochester continues to thrive and serve as a beacon for our entire region, while creating a blueprint for public-private partnership success well beyond Greater Rochester."

Founder of the William & Sheila Konar Foundation Howard Konar said, "We're thankful to everyone who has committed resources to this initiative, and especially grateful to the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Empire State Development, Monroe County, and the City of Rochester for their leadership roles."

State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, "From fighting poverty, to prioritizing economic growth, the Regional Revitalization Partnership takes a holistic, community-driven approach to helping our city thrive. I want to thank Governor Hochul for making these investments into Rochester and for sharing our mission to uplift and support our underserved communities."

State Senator Samra Brouk said, "Rochester is still home to three of the top five poorest zip codes in the state, and nearly one in two children in our city grow up in poverty. I applaud Governor Hochul for her ongoing commitment to investments that will bring workforce training programs, targeted small business assistance, and revitalization projects to our area. As leaders, we know that the safest communities are those with the most resources - where individuals have adequate education, health care and opportunities for jobs and employment. Today's investments highlight Rochester's strengthening partnership with New York State leaders to fulfill our commitment to a more equitable regional revitalization."

Assemblymember Harry Bronson, Chair of Labor, said, "The Regional Revitalization Partnership Initiative is committed to making considerable impact by supporting and investing in organizations that are regenerating Rochester's marginalized neighborhoods and providing education and career opportunities to our families. I applaud the Governor's continued investment and appreciate these collaborative efforts to bring equity and opportunity to our community."

Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, "Through the Regional Revitalization Partnership, our state is demonstrating its commitment to creating opportunities for economic growth and community development in our neighborhoods. These projects will help foster small businesses, invest in our infrastructure, build community wealth, and revitalize our city. I am particularly proud to see investments being made towards our workforce on programs such as YAMTEP, RochesterWorks, and the Connected Communities - Greenwood Project to provide gainful employment and lifelong skills to our underserved residents. As state representatives we must remain committed to delivering meaningful resources and investments to our neighborhoods and families. I would like to thank Governor Hochul, Empire State Development, my state colleagues, and our local and regional organizations involved in this partnership for the betterment of Greater Rochester."

Assemblymember Sarah Clark said, "Eradicating poverty in the Rochester community is a top priority for our state delegation, that is why $25 million in anti-poverty funding for Rochester was included in this year's budget. But more can be done. With some of the poorest zip codes in the state right here in Rochester, the Regional Revitalization Partnership initiative has the potential to make an impact on generational and systemic poverty here. The 13 initial projects being announced address everything from new small business supports, to job readiness and training, to health and wellness services. Thank you to Governor Hochul, Mayor Evans, and the many private and public partners involved in this exciting announcement."

Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, "As the City of Rochester and our partners make progress with the projects and programs funded through the RRP, the initiative is already creating opportunities and transforming the lives of residents and helping businesses in our community. i thank Governor Hochul for continuing to make our region a priority and investing in the city and the countless individuals who will benefit for generations to come."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "Through her investments in the Regional Revitalization Partnership, Governor Hochul is defining her priorities and aligning them with our local efforts. These projects will have a transformative effect on City neighborhoods, addressing infrastructure needs, fostering small business growth and development, and upskilling our residents to connect them with good-paying jobs," said Monroe County Executive Adam J. Bello. "Governor Hochul is committed to fighting poverty in Rochester and across New York State, the Regional Revitalization Partnership projects combined with new budgetary commitments will be critical for our community."

ROC2025 President and CEO Dr. Joseph Stefko said, "The first phase of RRP in Rochester represents a sea change in how we approach community investment. This co-investment approach made possible through the leadership of Governor Hochul and significant commitments from New York State, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, and a number of local philanthropic partners, aligns focus to maximize impact. We're excited to see these phase one projects advance, and for RRP to serve as an innovative national model for community and economic revitalization."

Regional Revitalization Partnership
The Regional Revitalization Partnership (RRP) is a $300M comprehensive economic development strategy and public-private partnership that maximizes impact and leverages additional investment for Buffalo's East Side, Niagara Falls and Rochester. This community-driven, collaborative strategy takes a holistic approach to economic development and is designed to build community wealth through multiple paths. The RRP was developed in collaboration with New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development (ESD) and is supported by ESL, Evans Bank, the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, Five Star Bank, KeyBank/First Niagara Foundation, William & Sheila Konar Foundation, M&T Bank, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and partners in the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester. RRP program implementation is led by the Center for Regional Strategies.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY" the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

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