Courtesy of rochestersubway.com

UR student leaders stressed the importance of making UR’s multi-use College Town project accessible, with cheap, fast dining options and a variety of vibrant night-life options to two developers from Cleveland-based Fairmount Properties at a forum on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The multi-use College Town project, which has been in the works since January 2011, now has a groundbreaking planned for 2013 and obtained $4 million in funding this December from New York’s Regional Economic Development Council, part of a total $96.2 million award to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

“It’s very important for us to be able to hear from students,” Randy Ruttenberg of Fairmount Properties said. “Now we’re determining what should go there. We’re not so bold as to be able to come to Rochester and know what would work for the people of Rochester.”

Ruttenberg described the project as being very “pedestrian-oriented,” with outdoor seating and an internal boulevard.

Freshman Lucas Metzler asked if the project will resemble RIT’s Park Point development project.

“This will not at all feel like that project,” Ruttenberg said. “This will feel way more organic.”

He described College Town as having a “more quaint and warm feel” that will be more well-integrated into the urban setting than RIT’s suburban mall model. College Town will have more employees, a bigger day time population of visitors, and “pocket-like” parks.

Senior Andrew Cutillo asked about the projected time for student usage of College Town, expressing his worry about transportation.

Ruttenberg said that there will be two types of businesses — those that are used on a weekly basis, such as the grocery store, bank and bakery, and those that will be more “destination-oriented” places that people will drive to from 10 to 15 miles away, such as unique shops.

College Town will have job opportunities for students, and UR is working to make it accessible by both the blue and green line buses, Ruttenberg said.

Cutillo stressed that many undergraduates are hesitant to venture off campus for food given that their meal plans are more tied to on-campus eateries.

Director of Wilson Commons Laura Ballou said that she thinks it will be important that many of the new business take flex to address this issue and create an incentive for students to eat or buy off campus.

Students’ Association President and senior Roshal Patel stressed the importance of venues delivering food, particularly during late night hours.

Ruttenberg said that there will likely be sushi and Mediterranean restaurants that deliver food and that they are investigating a concept akin to Insomnia Cookies, which delivers until 3 or 4 a.m.

Senior Kyle Coapman agreed, stating that he thinks students want venues where they can get food like grilled cheese and fried chicken quickly and cheaply, “like a diner but faster.”

There was a general consensus among students about the need for night-life venues that cater both to students who want a more club-like, dancing experience and those who might want the more chill atmosphere of a coffee shop/bar with live music, particularly performed by students.

College Town will have spaces for outdoor music and student performers, Ruttenberg said. Ballou also stressed that having a student tie to venues is of crucial importance.

“The connection to people is really what it’s about because of how musical our campus is,” she said. “Students want to have that personal connection.”

Ruttenberg also said that College Town will have a Beer Market with 500 types of beer, a sports bar and a wine bar.

Other specific features of College Town announced include: 73,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 154,000 feet of residential space, a five story parking garage, 50,000 square feet of office space, a Hilton Garden Inn, a 20,000 square foot fresh market concept grocery store, and a Barnes & Nobles bookstore, which will also house UR’s college bookstore.

Ruttenberg added that the outside performance space will seat 100 people, and both surface parking and garage parking for short and long term will be available for free.

Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.



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