Tower 280, the Former Midtown Plaza, Home to New Life

Article by Cristina Domingues on Time Warner Cable News, Rochester NY

ROCHESTER, N.Y. --  Tower 280, which for decades towered above Midtown Plaza in downtown Rochester, is nearly full, according to developers. Three years after Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management began redeveloping the Midtown Tower, tenants are moving in. 

Bergmann Associates cut the ribbon Monday on its new space in the tower, which now offers commercial, housing and retail. Bergmann is an architectural, engineering and design firm that was founded in Rochester in 1980.  There are today 414 employees in offices around the country. The company's headquarters have always been in Rochester.

"We think it is important for the community," said Tom Mitchell, Bergmann president & CEO. "Certainly, the city center, the core of any city, is very important. We've been down here all these years so it wasn't a culture change."

Bergmann says the parking garage with spaces for 185 employees in Rochester was a huge boost. The company also has more space in 60,000 square feet across an entire floor, with many glass offices and conference rooms, and even a space to relax.  

"On the commercial office side, we're 100 percent full. On the residential, out of 181, we have somewhere between 12-15 I believe left," said Ken Glazer. "It's an indicator that we're long overdue to have some nice high-end residential living."

It was Ken Glazer's father, the late Larry Glazer, through Buckingham Properties, who envisioned the transformation of the Midtown Tower.

Tower 280's first retail tenant is the soon-to-open Branca restaurant, which is tentatively set to begin serving breakfast to a downtown crowd in a couple of months.

"We always wanted to be a part of downtown," said Chelsea Felton, director of operations for SCN Hospitality. "Tower 280, Midtown building, it's historic in Rochester, and we think what's happening with Rochester and the flip, everyone coming down here, there's so much excitement."

This will be Branca's second location. There is still more retail space left at the tower. Glazer says they've had discussions with other restaurants, microbreweries, pharmacies and small grocery stores. Developers says this is all part of the resurgence that they believed was possible here.

"They see the excitement, they see people living here, now we have Bergmann opening. There's people," Glazer said.