Chairman of RBTL vows to move forward with performing arts center

November 07, 2018 09:07 PM

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Tom Golisano announced Wednesday that he has pulled his $25 million gift for the new performing arts center in Rochester.

Last month, a new proposal emerged involving tearing down the Radisson Hotel on Main Street and moving the project from Parcel 5. 

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The renderings of the project consisted of a new 3,000-seat performing arts center, a 500-seat theater, retail and dining space, apartments and a 250-room hotel. 

The Paychex founder pledged the money in 2016 but says he sees little progress.

The chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theater League says it's a disappointment, but the city and RBTL will move forward with plans to build an entertainment complex on Main Street.

"One of things that happened and something we do a lot in Rochester is, we find reasons why we can't do things," said Arnie Rothchild, RBTL chairman. 

Rothchild said he talked with Golisano before it was announced that the location and scope of the performing arts center would be changing.

Wednesday's announcement was unexpected. "Yes it's disappointing, but we will get it done," Rothchild added. 

However, the ticket price on this new entertainment complex is $200 million. The theater alone is roughly half that cost. 

Here's what we learned about the financing.

Paychex founder Tom Golisano had committed $25 million.

The mayor is asking the state for $20 million.

Ten million dollars is coming from tax credits, $2 million is coming from a local organization and $3 million is coming from a foundation making a total of $60 million.

Now, without Golisano's $25 million, that leaves $55-$65 million left to be raised.

The question is: Where will that money come from? 

"Were not going to lose our focus. Our city deserves this and we're going to get it built," Rothchild explained. 

Read the following statement from Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren following the unexpected news.

“As part of the larger ROC the Riverway program, the ‘Riverside Performing Arts Center Project’ has never been more viable and the opportunity to work with Gov. Cuomo, the state of New York, organized labor and the private sector to invest in a project that will deliver more than 1,000 needed jobs for Rochester residents is too important to give up.”


Lynette Adams

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