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College Town's problem with windows


When Marcia Barry, the City of Rochester's director of planning and zoning, meets with College Town developers this week, they'll talk windows.

Last month, the city's zoning board gave College Town, a 16-acre mixed-use development planned for the west side of Mount Hope Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Crittenden Boulevard, leeway on some zoning requirements. The condition is that developers add "transparency" to the street fronts of the project's planned grocery store and its hotel.

The hotel would be located on Elmwood, and the grocery would front the newly created Celebration Drive. Celebration would bisect Mount Hope between Elmwood and Crittenden Boulevard.

Barry has to give final approval to the project's site plan and says she'll work with developers to see if more windows can be added to the first story of the grocery store and hotel. Or if windows aren't feasible, she says she'll press them on alternatives like showcases or display space.

Prior to last month's zoning board meeting, College Town's developers submitted a plan that included street-level blacked-out windows for the grocery and the hotel. Barry recommended rejecting the plan, so developers revised it to include more windows, she says.

Developers added windows to the hotel facade in what would be a conference area, and they added display areas in front of the kitchen space. They also added windows in front of the grocery store, though Barry says there is still room for improvement.

Barry says she expects revised designs to be submitted to the city after she talks to developers. She says she expects negotiations with the developers to wrap-up soon, but couldn't say when the city would receive the revised designs.

The most recent designs submitted to the city are available here.