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City Officials tour downtown construction site, Mayor calls it a win-win for residents and businesses

Recently, a group of city officials visited 45/55 North Main Street, the site of a new mixed-use building that is currently under construction by Groen Construction. When it’s completed, the six-story building will become the tallest structure in the downtown area, replacing the now-demolished Hoffman Furniture and Slim Tex Mex buildings.

This project is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the downtown area, with the aim of attracting new residents, visitors, and businesses to the city.

Current owners G&P Boston Properties, of Charleston, MA, took ownership in 2021 with the intent to replace the existing structures with a modern, energy-efficient building. City Council granted an RSA 79-E designation, which froze the assessment for 7 years. Once it expires, the building will be reassessed at full value.

Director of Economic Development Michael Scala says the development would not happen without the use of RSA 79-E, stating “The program is an incentive used to attract developers to redevelop or restore blighted and underutilized properties. The previous structures were out of code, in disrepair, and not contributing as much as they could to the tax base and the overall vitality of the downtown.”

The new structure will feature commercial unit(s) on the first floor and approximately 45 market-rate apartment units above. Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan said he is impressed with the progress so far.

Callaghan said, “This project, along with several others, will bring new people to downtown with discretionary income to support our downtown merchants. We need additional housing and our businesses need customers. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

However, concerns have been raised about a potential lack of downtown parking due to all the new development. In response, the city has established a Parking Review Group to evaluate parking needs and management in order to ensure that residents, customers, and visitors are accommodated.

“As part of a recent public survey, the Parking Review Group received hundreds of responses from residents and business owners,” said Scala. “We look forward to seeing the data so we can make informed decisions about the future of downtown parking, which will likely include some form of paid parking, increased parking enforcement on busy streets and lots, and additional signage marking other nearby parking areas.”

Todd Radict, owner of Skeletone Records, says he’s encouraged by the construction, which is located directly in front of his store, stating “It’s about time we tear down those old vacant buildings and get something new in there. This new project will add new life to downtown and bring new customers not just to my store, but to all my neighbors, too.”

According to officials, Groen Construction is making remarkable progress, adding a new floor every 13 days. They anticipate the full structure to be in place by June 2023 and fully completed in June 2024.

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