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More places to live, eat in the neighborhoods


More entertainment and housing options are coming to Rochester's neighborhoods if current proposals go through. Neighborhood of the Arts may get a Mexican restaurant and there's a proposal to convert the Cobblestone School in NOTA to housing. And there's a plan for student housing on Mt. Hope Avenue.

Developer Duncan Frame plans to build a five-story student housing complex with some retail space on Mt. Hope. The former Empire Comics at 1176 Mt. Hope would be torn down.

A second, residential-only complex for students would be built nearby on Gold Street. This building would be four stories high.

Frame did not respond to requests for comment, but plans submitted to the City of Rochester show that together, the buildings would have 24 two-bedroom units and 16 four- bedroom units. And the Mt. Hope building would have 3,160 square feet of retail space. Frame met with area residents earlier this week to discuss the project, which is called "The Lofts at Gold Street."

Dan Hurley, president of the Upper Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association, says that he's glad that there is a plan to develop that section of Mt. Hope, but cautious to see how the project unfolds and the impact it would have on parking and traffic — two things that the neighborhood already struggles with.

A second housing project is in the works for 10 Prince Street in the Neighborhood of the Arts. A developer plans to convert the former Cobblestone School into 12 apartments. The private school closed in June 2015 due to a lack of funds.

This project has flown under the radar so far; the neighborhood association has little information on it. The applicant is listed with the city as Ray Trotta, who is the design-program manager for the Holland Trotta Project, according to LinkedIn. He could not be reached for comment.

The city's Zoning Board will consider granting a required variance for the project at its meeting on Thursday, January 21, in City Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m., but the apartment application is the last on the agenda.

Neighborhood of the Arts has another interesting project just getting off the ground. Developer Frank Imburgia and restauranteur Josh Miles plan to build a two-story Mexican restaurant on the corner of Norwood Street and Anderson Avenue.

Evan Lowenstein, president of the NOTA Neighborhood Association, says that, so far, the neighborhood appears to support the project. The association is disseminating information about the proposed restaurant to NOTA residents, he says, and soliciting feedback. The developer is waiting on neighborhood input, Lowenstein says, before submitting plans to the city.

The restaurant would only be open for dinner hours, according to the neighborhood association, with the possibility of lunch service on the weekends. Food would be served through 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. on weekdays, but the bar would stay open until 2 a.m. On weekends, the association says, the plan is for everything to stay open until 2 a.m.