Rochester, N.Y. – The city is looking for a buyer for 88 Elm St., one of the few buildings left standing when the city tore down Midtown Plaza.
The former office building has been vacant for 15 years. The city acquired it in a tax foreclosure. It has 13 floors and 83,000 square feet. There is no electricity, heating and cooling or plumbing.
Bret Garwood, the city’s director of housing and business, points out the city removed the asbestos and put on a new roof. He said developers are already expressing interest.
“We could see a combination of small retail, office space and housing,” Garwood said. “Housing is a fairly likely option.”
Garwood attributes interest in the property to the redevelopment of Midtown Plaza and other downtown projects.
Heidi Zimmer-Meyer of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation thinks the building will become housing. Three dozen downtown office buildings have been converted to apartments in the last decade.
“That’s where the biggest success has been with building after building downtown,” she said.
One possible drawback to the property is it is adjacent to the Hotel Cadillac, which is used as an emergency shelter for the homeless. The hotel has been associated with drugs and other problems in the past. The owner did not return a call for comment.
“I don’t think the Cadillac hotel is stopping developers from taking a serious look at this building,” said Zimmer-Meyer. “In the end, long term, the Cadillac hotel use is probably no longer working in this neighborhood.”
Developer proposals for 88 Elm are due in May. The property was appraised for $360,000.