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Downtown renovations underway

Rochester, N.Y. - The new transit center downtown, is five months ahead of schedule, according to the authority overseeing it.

"This is going to be a really nice space, where our customers will be able to be indoors in controlled climate and have a great facility for them," said Migel Velazquez, one of the chief information officers for RGRTA.

The transit center will be among the first new city projects to open soon, but it might not be the only one.

"Stuff's under construction and coming in the pipeline and it's the most dynamic period I've seen in over 30 years in this town," said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation.

Zimmer-Meyer said that one thing in particular is fueling the surge in projects around the city, and that's housing.

More than 1,800 people are expected to move downtown within three years.

"The glue that's holding everything together is the house and all the people that are moving in. That's been the real trip started to everything that we're seeing here. It's really a phenomenal story," said Zimmer-Meyer.

Developer Larry Glazer's Alexander Place will be a mix of housing and shops along Alexander Street.

The Inner Loop filling project, which could begin this summer, will add six acres of development space to downtown Rochester, but could take several years to finish, according to city engineer James McIntosh.

"I think as important as that is, reestablishing the street grid and making that connection between the neighborhoods to the south-Park Ave., Meigs Street and to downtown," said McIntosh.

Despite what is in the works, Zimmer-Meyer said that there is plenty of work to still be done.

Hart's Local Grocers is another big downtown plan, and while it has hit a snag due to paperwork, is expected to open soon. 

"In between those areas where there's real vitality, we still have dead zones-sea of parking lots-that kind of thing. The real challenge for us is connection al lthe dots and transforming Main Street, which is happening within the next year," Zimmer-Meyer said.

The transit center is scheduled to open in late November.

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Washington Times