Geva Theatre pans plans for Parcel 5

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Geva Theatre Company is critical toward proposed development for Parcel 5, where the Rochester Broadway Theatre League plans to build a performing arts center. Geva sent a memo to Rochester City Council asking for further studies on the proposal for the site on East Main Street.

"Our memo has less to do with the role that RBTL plays in our community, and much more with the mayor choosing this project for Parcel 5 as an effort to brand Rochester as the 'City of the Arts,'" said Mark Cuddy, Geva Theatre artistic director.

“She is quoted as saying, 'Syracuse is a college sports town, Buffalo has pro teams, we are the City of the Arts and we have to have a venue that gives us that title.' We find that thinking to be naive at best.”

Geva raised concerns about the possible impact on existing venues in the city, non-profit theaters, and jobs within the artist community, but the city responded, calling Cuddy's remarks "political."

"When we are talking about jobs, and the future of our city, there really shouldn't be any room for petty politics,” said James Smith, city communications director.

Rochester City Council has scheduled a forum for 5:30 p.m. Thursday to let the public weigh-in on the plans.

Mayor Lovely Warren says she hopes people will come out and give their opinion on the $130 million project. 

"We're trying to make Rochester downtown alive after 5 o'clock, where we have booths on the ground we have a restaurant, a national chain that's coming in, a steakhouse that's coming in, opening in October, and we want people to be in our center ity at those times and give an opportunity for people to succeed and an opportunity to give our people to work," Warren (D) said.

The city hopes to move forward with the project by early next year.

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