A quick drive around Mt. Hope and Elmwood avenues shows an area completely transformed as a result of the $100 million College Town project under way.
"It's unbelievable," says Dan Hurley, president of the Upper Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association. "It's long overdue."
The first retail opening in the 14-acre, mixed-use development will be the Barnes & Noble bookstore on October 17. The store will be the University of Rochester's official campus bookstore, and also serve the general public.
That event will be followed by a larger ceremony sometime next spring, Hurley says. By then, he says, many more of the stores, restaurants, and other businesses should be open.
The University of Rochester should move into its College Town office space by November 1, says Fred Wilbur, a senior project manager at Gilbane Development. Gilbane and Fairmount Properties are jointly developing College Town.
Hurley says that the College Town storefronts are more than 80 percent leased. Other businesses coming include Flight Wine Bar, Hilton Garden Inn, Corner Bakery Café, Canandaigua National Bank, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Saxby's Coffee.
Constantino's Market, a 20,000-square-foot grocery store, is also slated for College Town. Senator Chuck Schumer announced on Monday that the store will get approximately $750,000 in federal funding to cover start-up costs.
College Town will also have a cycle track — which is a dedicated passageway for bicyclists — and there's talk of a drug store, Hurley says.
"The one thing I have an issue with, and there's nothing anybody can do about it, is traffic," he says. "But what are you going to do? Everybody wants that problem."