About the Midtown District
Midtown District, the psychological center of downtown Rochester, is an area in transition. Once the shopping center for the entire county, Midtown Plaza and the Sibley Building housed numerous shopping destinations. The area is now being revitalized to become once again a center of downtown activity with residential, office, and retail development either completed, in progress, or planned.
Prior to Midtown Plaza and the construction of the 26-story Chase Square office tower, the “Main and Clinton” area (as the Midtown District was formerly known) was a shopping district by day and an entertainment district by night. During its heyday, Main and Clinton was home to six major department stores including Sibley’s, which was housed in a complex containing more than a million square feet of office and retail space.
With the construction of Midtown Plaza in 1963, downtown as a shopping district reached its peak. This complex of five office buildings and retail mall included a new hotel with a skyline restaurant, dozens of stores, an underground parking garage, and a “Class A” office tower. Unfortunately Rochester was not spared when it came to “suburban flight” and by the mid-’70s stores were closing or downsizing. By the 1990s, McCurdy’s, B. Forman and Sibley’s had closed and shopping was no longer a significant factor in downtown commerce. In 2010, Midtown Mall was demolished to make way for future development.
There are several major projects that are transforming the Midtown District neighborhood, most notably the redevelopment of the 1,000,000 square foot Sibley building into a mix of office space and apartments. The redevelopment of Midtown Tower into additional apartments and office space and the redevelopment of the rest of the Midtown Mall site will transform downtown.