The City of Rochester has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) to adaptively reuse, redevelop, and operate five former bus shelters on Main Street in downtown Rochester, NY. The deadline to respond is June 26 and successful proposals are expected to be announced by July 31…
With the opening of the RTS Transit Center on Mortimer Street last November, these large free-standing bus shelters—located between the Genesee River and Stillson Street—were discontinued as bus transfer points. The idea to convert the shelters for other commercial or public uses was brought to City officials last year by Reconnect Rochester, a local non-profit that focuses on local public transportation issues.
Mike Governale, president of Reconnect Rochester says, “These shelters could provide ready-made homes for small businesses, sidewalk cafés, informational or interactive kiosks, or just about anything else our business and creative community can dream up. The best thing we can do for the revitalization of our downtown is to give people a variety of reasons to walk our streets. This type of innovative idea has the potential to bring people out at street level, to interact with each other, and support Main Street businesses.”
The RFP was developed in collaboration between Reconnect Rochester and the Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. As stated in the RFP, the City aims to award a multi-year master lease agreement for the shelters to an entity who will oversee their adaptation and subsequent re-use in a manner that complements and enhances the East Main Street district. The leaseholder would then be free to sublease or rent space to individual businesses.
Proposals will be judged, in part, on their ability to create value for area residents, workers, and visitors. No preconceptions are made. However, the RFP does exclude private or personal uses, as well as disassembling and/or moving the structures.
The City will bring together a group of stakeholders to review the proposals. Governale believes the proposals that will be reviewed most favorably, according to the RFP, are the ones that can show some sort of partnership between a reputable developer or property manager AND other local institutions – whether it be a non-profit job training program, a local business association, or one of our colleges/universities.
“We’re not particularly looking for one developer to come in from out of town and start putting Starbucks or a food chain in all five shelters. We would like to see something that will benefit our city on a variety of different levels.”
The deadline to respond is June 26 and successful proposals are expected to be announced by July 31.
The full Request For Proposals is available on the City’s website .