The College Town project is currently preparing for its opening next fall. A list of vendors, including Corner Bakery Café, Insomnia Cookies, and The Beer Market, was released last Wednesday.

According to Senior Economic Development Specialist for the city of Rochester Matthew McCarthy, further updates will be made available “in early 2014.”

Although students have voiced concerns about College Town’s distance from campus and the possibility of construction delays, developers are confident in the project’s success.

“I don’t believe it will actually open when they say it will actually open,” freshman Kyle Stolove said. “I’d like to know when that vacant lot is going to have tons of property on it.”

McCarthy noted that not all commercial establishments will not be ready at the initial opening of College Town, but the major tenants will be established and construction completed.

The bookstore’s distance from campus is also concerning for students.

“I’m not looking forward to the fact that it’s 15 minutes away, and it’s going to be freezing outside,” Stolove said. “So the only way is going to be to use the bus schedule.”

Developers and administrators are confident, however, that the new bookstore will be a valuable change.

“The new bookstore will be a vast improvement over what we now have,” Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Office Ronald Paprocki said. “And we believe that College Town will be so attractive that students will want to be there.”

They also noted that there will be changes to the transportation system: a new bike trail and shuttles to and from College Town to lessen any inconvenience the distance from the bookstore may cause students.

McCarthy also noted that students aren’t visiting the bookstore on a daily basis.

“The bookstore typically has cyclical heavy use at the beginning and ends of semesters, rather than providing a day-to-day service,” he said. “Also, walking is good for us.”

Other additions to College Town include a public performance event area, and apartments which will, in McCarthy’s words, “provide an attractive place to live near the University.”

Despite confidence in the success of College Town, there are no official plans on how the vacant space in Douglass created by the bookstore’s move will be utilized.

“The formal planning process for Douglass has just begun,” Director of Auxiliary Operations for UR Cam Shauf said. “The first step is a building evaluation by the architects.”

Schauf says that students will be involved in the process.

The economic benefit College Town provides is a major factor justifying the five-year project.

“This is one of the largest development projects in the city, and it has a huge positive economic development impacts in terms of creation of construction jobs, permanent employment opportunities, sales tax revenues, and similar benefits,” Paprocki said.

College Town is also creating a greater level of commercial excitement in the surrounding area.

“College Town has spurred additional development along the Mt. Hope corridor as much of the east side of the block between Elmwood and Crittenden has seen new commercial investment, including new and renovated businesses,” McCarthy said.

An estimated 100 new jobs will be created by the College Town development, and McCarthy said the city has generated $3.8 million in commercial investments because of the project.

College Town will also offer an atmosphere similar to other schools.

“The idea is to bring to our students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors an environment and services that do not now exist but exist at many of our peer institutions,” Paprocki said.

College Town was initiated as a way to connect the UR campus with the surrounding community as well.

“College Town transforms the area into a destination and provides a place for the University to more prominently interface with the surrounding community,” McCarthy said.

The integration between different groups in Rochester that College Town hopes to provide is at the heart of development. According to UR’s 2008 campus master plan, one goal was to develop vibrant neighborhoods adjacent to our campus and to create closer connections with the community.

“This is a very exciting time for the University,” Schauf said. “The construction of College Town…gives us a great opportunity to improve the student experience at UR.”

McAdams is a member of 

the class of 2017.

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