Board approves demolition of church for new grocery store

Updated: 08/14/2014 8:24 AM
Created: 08/13/2014 11:22 PM WHEC.com

What will be the fate of a historical church in Rochester?  

A local developer has been given the OK to demolish the church on West Main Street if it’s replaced by a grocery store. If all goes as planned, it would be the first grocery store in the neighborhood in more than 25 years.

But some neighbors argue against knocking down historic buildings to make way for modern convenience and have concerns about the developer.

The Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5/1 to tear this old church down to make room for an 18,000 square foot grocery store. It’s something neighbors have been clamoring for, for years.

“This is a great day for the people of the southwest side,” said Marvin Maye, developer.

It has been a long road to get here for Marvin Maye. The Rochester developer says he has been trying for two and a half years to put a store on West Main Street. In 2012, he proposed opening a Dollar General Store, but couldn’t get approval. However, on Wednesday the Zoning Board of Appeals okayed a grocery store with some conditions.

“I found a grocer that was interested in coming in and doing work here in the community. He’ll give us a shot and come to the neighborhood and do this. I think that is great, so that’s what I’ve been working on. We’re just elated,” said Maye.

Maye won’t say which grocery store chain will be opening up, but he showed News10NBC what the store will look like. He says it will not only bring in food and fresh produce at reasonable prices, but it will also create 40 jobs.

“We’ve needed this market for well over 25 years,” said Victoria Lang, a neighbor that lives nearby.

This is news Victoria Lang and her mother Bertha Smith Isreal have prayed to one day hear. Isreal says a number of the people who live in their neighborhood don’t drive and can’t get to the Big Suburban Grocery Store regularly.

“I am excited. I told them before if I need a load of bread I can walk with my cane down there, and I wouldn’t have to wait for someone to come along,” said Isreal.

Stacie Colaeprete says she is skeptical of any promises, and she’s disappointed in the board’s decision. She’s lived next door to Zebb’s Plaza, which is owned by Maye, and she doesn’t like the way it’s maintained.

“I’ve lived next to Zebb’s Plaza long enough to know what it’s going to look. He has no reason to change the conditions, and nobody makes him change it,” said Colaeprete.

The board approved the proposal on the condition that financing is secured in advance. Only a grocery store will be allowed, and if a grocery store doesn’t pan out, Maye will have to go back to the board to get approval for anything else.

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