Courtesy of Ron Paprocki

After a lukewarm reception from Mount Hope residents, designs for the forthcoming Barnes & Noble store have received several cosmetic changes. Part of the $100 million College Town project and the future site of UR’s official bookseller, the store is slated to break ground next spring and open in the summer of 2014.

Bigger windows, more embellishments and a chamfered entryway were some of the most requested changes, according to Dan Hurley, president of the Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association.

“What the neighbors saw was quite different [from] what was previously shown at the first press release two years ago,” Hurley said.

Coinciding with the design changes, the city of Rochester has created a design committee — mostly comprising third-party architects, contractors and Mt. Hope residents — that will continue to review the design process.

Hurley, who is a member of the committee, said that though he can’t fully comment on the designs until the final renderings are released, he likes the direction they are taking.

UR’s Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Ronald Paprocki agreed that the new design “looks great.”

“This is really a fine tuning of the exterior of the building,” he said. “The changes are the result of the iterative process of the developers obtaining input from the neighbors.”

Dean of the College Richard Feldman said that the design changes are important because Barnes & Noble in particular “will play a key role in the success of College Town.”

Paprocki added that the changes are “very attractive” to both the University community and the Mt. Hope neighborhood at large, “especially since the store will house UR’s official bookstore.”

“While moving the UR bookstore to an off-campus location has the benefit of freeing up space in the Frederick Douglass Building, plans for the resulting vacancy have not been determined yet,” he said.

Feldman said that though there hasn’t been any “serious discussion,” the space “could be a really good place that students can use for group activities and functions.”

Though also unsure of what will happen with the space, Paprocki confirmed it will “harmonize with planning by [UR] Dining Services for the future renovation of the Douglass dining facilities.”

Despite the appeal of a new bookstore, some students speculate whether the move will make it less accessible.

“For students who live in Phase or Riverview, that can be a 30 or 45 minute walk,” junior Boris Borivcanin said. “I like the idea of a College Town, but it’s important the University work out the logistics too.”

Feldman, who shared Borivcanin’s sentiment, maintained that the move will be “worth it.”

“The current bookstore is more conveniently located, but I think College Town as a whole will be a really great addition,” he said. “I have advocated in all discussions that for College Town to work for students, there has to be a convenient transportation system.”

According to Feldman, the expansion and revision of UR’s current bus lines is an issue that will “likely come up next year” as College Town nears completion.

College Town, a massive project encompassing 16 acres on the west side of Mt. Hope Avenue between Crittenden Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue, includes several restaurants, offices, a 150-room hotel and a conference center. A parking garage with capacity for 850 vehicles whose first floor would be a Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority transit station is also in the works.

“It’s a work in progress,” Hurley said.

Gould is a member of the class of 2014.

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