Medley Centre

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Medley Centre
Rochester Medley Centre.jpg
Main entrance as it appeared in September 2007
Location Irondequoit, New York
Opening date 1990
Closing date January 2009
Developer Wilmorite Properties
Management Scott R. Congel
Owner Bersin Properties LLC
No. of stores and services 1
No. of anchor tenants 2
Total retail floor area 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2)
No. of floors 2

Medley Centre is a mostly vacant shopping mall in Irondequoit, New York, a suburb of Rochester. The mall opened in 1990 as Irondequoit Mall, but early success gave way to dwindling patronage. With all stores now closed except for anchor stores Sears (Macy's closed in Spring 2014), the mall is effectively dead, awaiting the start of redevelopment.

History[edit]

In 1990, Wilmorite Properties. opened the Irondequoit Mall. The two story shopping mall was located in Monroe County’s eastern suburb of the same name, Irondequoit, a town of 50,000 residents located northeast of Rochester, NY. Irondequoit Mall opened with three anchors: Sears, JC Penney, and Sibley's, which became Kaufmann's later that same year.[1] In 1993, McCurdy's was added, which later became Bon-Ton.

Irondequoit Mall targeted residents in the northeastern city and the growing east-side suburbs of Webster, Irondequoit, and Penfield. The mall also attracted attention from the wealthier suburbs Brighton and Pittsford which divided their shopping attention between the then-dreary and outdated Eastview Mall in Victor and Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. The mall did very well at first, with a variety of smaller, upscale, specialty stores unavailable elsewhere in the area. The mall was a very popular shopping destination, especially for those who disliked the extensive walking required to navigate other area malls which sprawled on and on with their single story designs.[2]

Decline[edit]

It started to decline in 1995, when 2 malls nearby, Greece Towne Mall and Long Ridge Mall, joined to become The Mall at Greece Ridge, and another area mall, Eastview Mall, expanded. The expansion of Eastview Mall was believed by many to be the biggest factor in the decline of Irondequoit Mall. Eastview Mall opened a variety of upscale, specialty stores that were once exclusive to Irondequoit Mall. As shoppers fled, stores began to close. Soon after the mall became over half vacant, rumors began to circulate about the mall suffering from high crime rates.[3]

One of the anchor tenants, JC Penney, closed in 2003, by which time approximately 80 percent of the mall's non-anchor retail space was vacant.

In 2005, Wilmorite sold the mall to Bersin Properties LLC, headed by Adam Bersin, and the name of the mall changed to Medley Centre. Also in 2005, the mall got a new anchor, Steve & Barry's. In 2006, Target opened a store on mall property, although it was not physically connected to the mall itself.

Congel era[edit]

In 2007, Beresin Properties was purchased by Scott R. Congel, a former principal with The Pyramid Companies of Syracuse. The sale triggered speculation that the half-empty mall may be developed into a mixed use property.[4]

Congel announced ambitious plans for redeveloping the property. A 421-room hotel, 330 condominium units and a 16-screen movie theater would be part of the project, as well as retail, restaurant and office space and an underground parking garage.[5]

Before any work on redevelopment began, existing tenants began to leave. Bon-Ton, one of the mall's four anchor stores, closed in late 2007. Steve & Barry's closed in 2008.[6] With the exception of Sears and Macy's stores acnhoring either end of the mall, the remaining tenants were all closed in January 2009.[7]

In March, 2009, Bersin Properties received final approval from COMIDA (County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency) of a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement, which was also approved by both the Town of Irondequoit and the East Irondequoit Central School District (the school district in which the property is located).[citation needed]

Redevelopment stalled[edit]

With no observable activity a year after the agreement was made, Scott Congel met with Irondequoit's town Supervisor Mary Joyce D’Aurizio in April 2010 to reassure her that redevelopment plans were still in progress. She told the local newspaper she remained optimistic about Congel's plans. "The developer is just repositioning some of the tenants in an effort to reduce remodeling costs," D'Aurizio told the paper. "“The project has not been reduced in scope...he left no doubt that he’s definitely moving forward with his plans.”[8]

But that conversation failed to prompt any action. A 2011 report found that Congel owed more than $200,000 in taxes on the property, had failed to make a scheduled $500,000 payment to the town of Irondequoit, and was the defendant in a number of civil suits, including one by a local engineering firm which claimed it was owed more than $400,000 for work performed.[9]

An article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in November 2012 noted: "no apparent work has been done since he (Congel) bought the property in 2007."[10]

Macy's announced in January 2014 that their Medley Centre would close.,[11] which left a Sears store as the mall's lone tenant.

In February 2014, a parody Twitter account- The Lonely Medley Centre- was created to poke fun at the empty edifice and was nominated for a "Best of Rochester" award by City Newspaper. The account went silent in October 2014. The creator of the account remains a mystery.

Legal Action[edit]

The town made emergency repairs to the mall's pump station in January 2014. Owner Scott Congel had failed to respond to a letter from the town's fire inspector calling on him to take "immediate mitigation measures to prevent a catastrophic failure of the water system to the mall and/or the structural collapse of this building." [12]

In February 2014, Beresin Properties was cited for a series of code violations after pipes from the property's sprinkler system burst inside the vacant mall, flooding out some floors and sending water spewing out into the parking lots. Inspectors found that the interior of the building was not heated, and the burst pipes had caused significant damage.[13] [14]

Earlier that month, the town of Irondequoit, the East Irondequoit Central School District and the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency gave owner Scott Congel him a May 1, 2014 deadline to make good on a series of missed payments, some dating back to 2009.[15]

Congel said that he needed to renegotiate the terms of the agreement in order to secure financing for his redevelopment project,[16] something none of the municipal agencies appeared willing to consider.[17]

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 43°11′55″N 77°34′12″W / 43.1985°N 77.5700°W / 43.1985; -77.5700