Tom Golisano says he is pulling his $25 million pledge for a performing arts center in downtown Rochester.
The decision comes as the City of Rochester and Rochester Broadway Theatre League planned to build the proposed theater on the site of the Radisson Hotel in Rochester rather than at Parcel 5 as previously planned.
In a statement, Golisano called the feasibility of the project into question, saying, “I originally made this decision to support the Preforming Arts Center in 2016. Now two years later, the project is no closer to becoming a reality. It has dramatically changed in scope, becoming part of a larger entertainment complex, which is not in line with my philanthropic priorities. It has also not garnered the financial support it needs from the community. It is time for me to move on to the many other projects we are working on in this region that need support and that are more aligned with my philanthropic priorities.”
While moving the location for the theater, RBTL also expanded the size of the project, bringing the pricetag to $200 million. When proposed, the project was expected to call $75 million.
The move, however, put the project along the Genesee River, giving it hopes of getting more funding under the city and state’s “ROC the Riverway” initiative.
In response to Golisano’s decision, Mayor Lovely Warren said, “While this development is disappointing, we remain committed to this important, job-creating project and its potential to transform our city center. As part of the larger ROC the Riverway program, the ‘Riverside Performing Arts Center Project’ has never been more viable and the opportunity to work with Governor Cuomo, the State of New York, organized labor and the private sector to invest in a project that will deliver more than 1,000 needed jobs for Rochester residents is too important to give up.”
Golisano says he has notified RBTL chairman Arnie Rothschild.
RBTL wants to build a performing arts center, that will allow the company to attract more Broadway shows, on Main Street in downtown Rochester. The project would also include space for retail, housing and a hotel to replace the Radisson.