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Update: Geva Questions Viability of City’s Plans for Parcel 5; Mayor Warren Responds

By Staff –


Proposed Golisano Center for the Performing Arts

Proposed Golisano Center for the Performing Arts

(Update, Aug. 9) – Geva Theatre Center’s artistic director and co-CEO Mark Cuddy questioned the city’s choice to develop a new 3,000-seat performing arts center in the Parcel 5 location at Midtown during a press conference on Monday.

The theater sent a 14-page memorandum to Rochester City Council on July 31, expressing the group’s concerns regarding the impact a new, single-use theater may have on the existing local performing arts organizations in the area.

Rochester Broadway Theater League initially proposed the $130 million project.

“Our memo has less to do with the role RBTL plays in our community, and much more to do with the mayor choosing this project for Parcel 5 in an effort to brand Rochester as the City of the Arts,” Cuddy stated. “She is quoted as stating ‘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 naïve at best.”

Mayor Lovely Warren has reportedly called for an apology from Cuddy for his comments, stating, “I think that the artistic director actually owes me an apology. Men calling women naïve in this day and age is wrong.”

Geva is one of several local performing arts groups that have expressed concerns regarding the city’s Parcel 5 plans, and City Council has announced it will hold a public forum to discuss the matter on Aug. 10, at 5:30 p.m., in City Hall, at 30 Church St.

Visit to view Cuddy’s full statement.

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(From Aug. 4) – Several local performing arts groups have written a letter of concern to city council members outlining their reservations regarding the city’s plans to develop the 3000-seat Golisano Center for the Performing Arts in the Parcel 5 location at Midtown, according to an article in the Democrat and Chronicle.

The city has touted the $130 million project as having a $25 million commitment from local businessman Tom Golisano, with the potential to bring 776 construction and permanent jobs to the local area.

Nonetheless, the coalition of local arts groups said in its letter that the proposal “alarms many of us,” and the group has asked city council to hold a public hearing in order to assess the viability of the project before going forward.

As a result, city council has announced it will hold a public forum regarding the matter on Aug. 10, at 5:30 p.m., in City Hall, at 30 Church St.

The groups said they are concerned about whether the development of a new theater will hurt the theaters that already exist in the region, and about whether there will be enough public demand for the theater’s usage to justify the city going ahead with the plans to build the new theater.

“A presenting theater (i.e. where pre-packaged shows are booked-in) is not a neighborhood use, not an active use, and it is not a use that will improve the daily life of the residents of the center city,” the letter stated.

The groups are waiting to hear back from city council before they make any public statements regarding the letter.

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