June 18, 2019 06:19 PM
HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Marketplace Mall in Henrietta is a step closer to a brand new tenant inside the old Macy's store.
News10NBC broke the news about this project to you in April. We took you to the only public hearing. And News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean was the only local reporter inside the room Tuesday when the county's industrial development agency cleared one of the last big hurdles.
The owner of the mall, Wilmorite, says it has a tenant to fill the empty Macy's store. Wilmorite won't say who it is because it has a non-disclosure agreement.
But to do the project, Wilmorite needs access to all the parking spaces around Macy's. To get it, Wilmorite needed the county to step in and condemn the property surrounding Macy's.
That's what happened on Tuesday.
After two quick votes, Imagine Monroe, the county's industrial development agency that gives tax breaks and incentives to new and expanding businesses, condemned part of the mall property and cleared a path for this project.
News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "What you did today is a necessary step for Wilmorite to do their project?"
Jeff Adair, Imagine Monroe executive director: "Absolutely correct. I mean this is, if you were getting ready to do a project right now and you were in your house and you had to paint you would probably have to fill the cracks, fill the nail holes, get things prepped. I would say that's exactly what we did today."
News10NBC wants to know what the finished paint job is going to look like. So on Tuesday, we went to Wilmorite's office on Scottsville Road. We were told no one could talk on camera.
At the public hearing in April, Kevin Wilmot, Wilmorite's vice president of finance, said he's legally not allowed to talk about it.
Kevin Wilmot, VP of Wilmorite: "I don't have any comments today due to the fact that we're under a strict non-disclosure agreement."
In a statement in April, Wilmorite said the parking lot rights could "delay if not prevent the desired transformation of Marketplace Mall."
In a statement Tuesday, Wilmorite said:
"Wilmorite is pleased with the Imagine Monroe Board's decision and their continued support. The approval is an essential step toward redeveloping The Marketplace Mall. Many mall owners and developers across the country are requesting similar adjustments to accommodate dated lease language."
The parking rights still need to be purchased from J.C. Penney's, Dicks, Old Navy and a handful of other stores.
Imagine Monroe Executive Director Jeff Adair says that's up to Wilmorite not the county.
Brean: "And do you have to play any role in that?
Adair: "At this time no. I do not, no."
On Tuesday, Wilmorite repeated its inability to name its "transformative" tenant because of the non-disclosure agreement.
But we read the 50-page filing connected to this project with Imagine Monroe and found out Wilmorite shared some information with the Imagine Monroe Board, the agency that voted in its favor.
Brean: "So I read some of the material that goes into this."
Adair: "Yes, you did."
Brean: "It says the agency has been informed by the company as to what this potential project is. Can you share with me and our viewers what the potential project is?
Adair: I wish I could but at this point, I don't have anything that I could share because of legal aspects of the project."
Brean: "Without saying who it is and what they're going to do, can you characterize whether it is going to have an impact on people who watch us?"
Adair: "It will have a very positive [impact] on our community."
Last year, the Democrat and Chronicle reported that the University of Rochester Orthopedic Center was interested in moving into the Macy's store.
In a statement to News10NBC in April, UR Medicine said, "We are exploring multiple potential options to meet this rising demand for UR Medicine Orthopaedics. We're at the early stages of the process and have many factors to evaluate before making any further comment."
UR Medicine told us that statement stands Tuesday.
Last year, just the Macy's property alone paid more than $210,000 in property taxes. More than half went to Rush-Henrietta schools.
Updated: June 18, 2019 06:19 PM
Created: June 18, 2019 05:30 PM
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