Proposal would turn vacant building into hotel on Elmwood Ave.

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Most people know it as the abandoned psych center on Elmwood Avenue. It has been vacant for over 30 years, and it shows. Several windows are smashed and weeds are growing all over. For the first time in decades, the site straddling the city and Brighton border might have a future.

A local developer wants to turn it into a four-story hotel. The people listed on the application are developer Bob Morgan, and construction firm Taylor The Builders. Neither have returned a request for comment. Morgan is the same developer who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, about a year ago.

The application proposes a tear-down of the existing building, and a four-story Hyatt House Hotel in its place.

Brighton town supervisor Bill Moehle said the building is city property. But, about 11 acres fall within the town.

“There have been discussions about the development of the former psych center, for a number of years,” said Moehle. “The city and town have their own approval process, and we will do that if it comes into the town.”

Moehle is not directly involved in the proposal, but said his planning staff is aware, and talking about it.

“My understanding is that it is significantly asbestos contaminated,” he said. “That will have to be addressed.”   

According to an application filed with the City of Rochester, the developer would remove the building, along with existing parking lots and roads. The project would take 12 to 18 months. Moehle said it’s too soon for him to say if he thinks this has potential or not.

His idea of redeveloping it, involves something a little different.

“Certainly one thing that has been talked about, and I think would be a very real positive for the town, is I would be very interested in seeing affordable housing.”