BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A New York State Supreme Court judge on Wednesday threw out 22 of 23 lawsuits against the Whole Foods Plaza construction in Brighton.
Development plans for the grocery store began nearly seven years ago but were tossed to the side following a basket full of litigation and legal fights against its building progress.
Things are now back on track, according to a co-owner in the development who issued the following:
“We are pleased that Justice Odorisi has dismissed all but one of the claims brought about simply to delay this project. We look forward to the December trial where we will present the facts for why the last claim can be dismissed. This decision to dismiss almost all claims is a relief and with Whole Foods working to diligently open and the rest of the plaza being fully leased, we look forward to the Grand Opening of a great development for the Town of Brighton and the residents of Monroe County.”
— Anthony Daniele, Development Co-Owner
The Daniele Family, who has been developing the Whole Foods Plaza since 2014, has been the recipient of nearly two dozen lawsuits brought about by two separate groups.
Both local groups, are thanking Wegmans for supporting their cause.
Brighton Grassroots and Save Monroe Avenue, previously thanked Wegmans in their joint efforts to oppose the grocery store project. In March 2020, the groups said Wegmans’ support is because of traffic concerns along Monroe Avenue and not because Whole Foods is an industry competitor.
“The project is in far greater jeopardy than the developer and the town have been letting in,” Howie Jacobson, the President of Brighton Grassroots, said in a statement. “They have been fooling people for years by telling them that our claims are ‘frivolous.’ The Court’s ruling makes their comments look foolish because we’re now headed to trial with a ‘compelling case.'”
The grocery store company issued the following statement when asked about its stance in March:
“Wegmans is one of several hundred residents and businesses whose legitimate concerns about the Daniele Family Companies’ Monroe Avenue project were largely ignored. We were asked by these groups to help support legal action to correct the traffic congestion and safety problems that will result from this project.”
Brighton Town Supervisor William Moehle, in a statement, said that the town’s approval process for the Whole Foods project was thorough and complete since the beginning:
“Once again, a multi-billion dollar competitor has tried to block this important project, which will redevelop an important commercial property on the Monroe Ave. corridor of Brighton, generate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in local tax revenues, and provide good jobs for Rochester area residents. Once again the Court has rejected most of the same claims that this opposition group has been peddling for years. We will continue to fight to ensure that a mammoth commercial competitor cannot dictate the future of our community and block important economic development and infrastructure improvements in Brighton. We are confident that when the Court finally hears all of the facts involved, it will recognize that the Town has acted in complete compliance with the law and determine that the project, with all of its benefits, should proceed.”
— William Moehle, Brighton Town Supervisor
Two years ago, Dan Daniele who is leading the development’s effort, was quoted saying the effort from the two local groups is “baseless, frivolous lawsuits really just intended to stop competition from coming into Rochester.”
News 8 is working to gather information about the specificity of the final lawsuit. The Daniele Family is set to present their argument to the last lawsuit on December 5.
The Daniele family anticipates Whole Foods in Brighton to open by spring 2023.
For the first time, the developers of the project announced the planned tenants in the plaza, with some slated to open by the end of the year. They include the following:
- WellNow Urgent Care
- Fidelity Investments
- Jersey Mike’s Subs
- Another food-related tenant
- A chiropractor’s office
- A medical spa
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.