Tom Golisano has pledged $25 million for the center that will bear his name

The city of Rochester's "Parcel 5," the site of the old Midtown Plaza, will be the site of the Golisano Center for the Performing Arts and Tower, Mayor Lovely Warren announced Friday. The center is to include housing, retail shops and restaurants as well as performance space.

Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano pledged $25 million for the theater, which will be named after him. The project will be a joint venture between Morgan Communities and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL).

“This much anticipated selection for Parcel 5 is a victory for our city in every way and I am grateful to Bob Morgan, RBTL and Tom Golisano for their investment in Rochester and its people,” said Warren. “Today we will begin a journey that will bring a combined 776 construction and permanent jobs to those who need them most, all while reinvigorating our city center with a hub of activity, entertainment, housing, commerce, shops and restaurants.”

The proposed project will include an approximately 3,000-seat performing arts center combined with a residential tower, which will include approximately 150 rental units. Some affordable housing units will be included as part of the mix with market rate units. The residential tower will also include retail shops and restaurants at street level.

“RBTL has been working for 20 years to make today a reality and we are grateful to Mayor Lovely Warren for her leadership and to Tom Golisano for his philanthropy to finally make this possible,” said Arnie Rothschild, RBTL CEO and Board Chairman. “This project will put the arts front and center in our city all while delivering enhanced economic impacts and jobs.”  

The Mayor’s office says 610 full-time construction jobs are envisioned for the estimated $130 million project, along with another 166 new permanent full-time jobs once the project is completed. 

RBTL estimates the new Golisano Center for the Performing Arts would book a minimum of 180 “use nights” in a given year, which would bring more than 360,000 people downtown annually with a projected $18.5 million in ticket sales for an overall economic impact of $55.5 million. 

A press release from the city states that project developers have agreed to adopt a "Rochester First" hiring policy for the permanent jobs. Morgan Communities and RBTL will work with the City of Rochester, the New York State Department of Labor, Monroe Community College and SUNY REOC to give first preference for hiring to residents of the city of Rochester. They have also committed to work with any prospective commercial tenants to give first preference for hiring to residents of the city of Rochester as well.