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Deal for Costco project moves forward with critical timelines

Rochester, N.Y. - A deal has been struck to move the stalled Costco project forward. Monroe County Democrats say they will back a capital budget vote and remove a condition that also included an independent review of the scandal involving local development corporations.

"This caucus believes strongly that this project is bringing important jobs to our area and this time line was critical," said Carrie Andrews, minority leader.

At stake is the entire CityGate development project on Westfall Road, an economic development project that hinges on Costco and involves 15-hundred jobs. The budget vote, while critical, is the first of an entire new set of hurdles.

"We look at the next six months as being difficult to make it but I think we can do it," said developer Anthony Costello.

The vote on the capitol budget has been delayed since December. It contains funding to relocate occupants of the Monroe County Children's Detention Center, allowing that building to be demolished. That clears the site for the construction of Costco.

Yet the delays have stressed the timeline. Costco builds its own stores and requires a site prepped with parking lots and utilities including lights, water, and sewer- all by June first. "I think we can make it," Costello said of the timeline adding "if the children aren't out of there in the next week or two it's going to be difficult."

New York State has stepped in utilizing emergency contacts to speed up work inside empty buildings of the Industry Campus in Rush where the children will be moved. "The sight is ready to accept kids," said Vinnie Esposito, Executive Director of Empire State Development's Finger Lakes Regional Office. "Once the county has their financing we think we can meet the time frame."

Until lawmakers agreed to approve the capital budget, Monroe County could not move forward with its part of the deal to buy the buildings from the state and retrofit them for the detention center's needs. "Today is a critical day," said County Executive Maggie Brooks. "I think if we missed the middle of January we could not have met that deadline."

"We are confident the children will be moved," she added.

Costco does not comment on planned development but through developer Costello this morning they indicated they "are pleased" things are moving forward. Even if that speed is now "fast forward."

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Washington Times