Good Question: Is there new life for the former Xerox Tower?

April 18, 2019 08:50 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Are we on the verge of a big announcement regarding Rochester's tallest building?

Pat Taney was asked to look into it for this week's Good Question report.


The once bustling Xerox Square now sits nameless and mostly empty. But if you look close, you'll find signs of life here.

Inside what was once the central pedestrian hub of the old Midtown Skyway system, you'll find Café SOL and Skyway Lounge. It was completely transformed by Tom Ferrara and his business partner.

WATCH: Web Extra: Tom Ferrara on former Xerox Tower, Café SOL and Skyway Lounge

"It's a cafe during the day," Ferrara said. "People can work here. We have high-speed internet."

Then, on weekend nights, the music starts pumping. Skyway Lounge takes over all three floors. Ferrara says it's unlike anything else you'll find in downtown Rochester.

"We looked at similar lounges in cities like Milan, Italy and Berlin, Germany when designing this," Ferrara said. 

It's surrounded by windows, has state of the art lighting, and has underground parking. So far, business is going well and Ferrara says this is just the start of new things to come for this massive complex.

Taney: You are kind of the lone wolf here in the former Xerox Square.

Ferrara: We're not directly attached to Xerox Square and we're not dependent on them. Plus I know a lot of good things are going on with that building.

The former Xerox Tower has more than 500,000 square feet of space.

Taney: Do you know what the future holds for this building?

Ferrara: Well I know one group has it under contract. Hopefully, that will work and I know there are a couple of backup deals that are very exciting if that doesn't work.

Taney: But you can't say any more?

Ferrara: I can't say any more, best to get that from Buckingham Properties.

Buckingham owns the building, which is currently listed for sale. The asking price is just more than $19 million. 

Buckingham did not return our several phone calls. The real estate firm handling the sale wouldn't comment either.

Ferrara is hopeful an announcement will be made soon.

"Something will happen and when it does, it will not only impact the Midtown district, it will impact the entire county," Ferrara said. "I signed a non-disclosure agreement so I can't tell you the specifics."

He's confident Midtown has a bright future.

"Once they knocked down the old Midtown Mall and with everything that's going on, this is great," Ferrara said. "This is better than midtown Atlanta. It's safe, it's clean, it just draws everyone"

News10NBC reached out to city officials for comment. 

"I have no knowledge of any potential buyer," Director of Communications and Special Events Justin Roj said.

But he told us the city is ready to pounce if there is indeed an interested party.

"The city is eager to work with interested developers or businesses to create a new future for the former Xerox Tower," Roj said.

News10NBC is also waiting to hear back from New York State's Empire Development Corporation. We wanted to know if the agency is offering any tax breaks or funding to help occupy the massive structure. We also have filed a request through the Freedom of Information Law.

Web Extra: Tom Ferrara on former Xerox Tower, Café SOL and Skyway Lounge. Watch below:


Pat Taney

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