ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce advancements in the Bull’s Head Revitalization Project.
Bull’s Head marks the western gateway to downtown, centered on the convergence of West Main Street, Brown Street, West Avenue, Chili Avenue and Genesee Street. It got its name from Bulls Head Tavern that was located there and established in 1813, according to city officials.
In 2009, the City undertook a Bull’s Head community input/planning process to bring neighborhood-wide community concerns to the surface.
According to the City of Rochester’s website, the planning process identified a number of core principles for revitalization, including:
- Neighborhood Vibrancy & Sense of Place
- Safe, Accessible Transportation Systems
- Employment & Business Expansion
- Quality, Mixed-Use Development
- Renewed Housing Opportunities
- Public Space, Parks & Recreation Enhancements
- Public Safety & Health Benefits
- Environmental Restoration
“This project represents promises made and promises kept,” Warren said.
The mayor said Bull’s Head was one of two neighborhoods in America to be selected to be studied by the internationally known Urban Land Institute, one of the oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts in the world.
“140,000 members digging into the change of Bulls Head,” Warren said. “We will put this study to work. It won’t sit on the shelf, we don’t let any sit plan on the shelf.”
“Today I am happy to announce Dawson Company as the prime developers of the private investment in Bulls Head,” Warren said.
The Dawson Company is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1969, it has developed, renovated and managed million square feet of office space, 1.5 million square feet of retail, and 15,000 multifamily housing units nationwide.
“It is clear that this is the developing team to restore Bulls Head — the western gateway to the city” Warren said. “We know they will be committed. Members of this team were born in the Bulls Head community, leaders of black-owned businesses, and they are dedicated to fix the neglect in Bulls Head.”
The mayor said this project development is personal to her.
“This is a passion I also share,” Warren said. “I was raised in Bulls Head, I learned the criminal justice system from my grandfather who was shot in Bulls Head. By 2017, when the plaza was put up for sale, investors walked away from Bulls Head. In a majority of black and brown neighborhoods, we say ‘not any more.'”
The mayor said the Dawson Company is the first black-owned real estate firm to do business in the City of Rochester.
“There was only talk and empty promises,” Warren said. “We put 10 million to deliver action and develop a vision. We are happy with the success of Tower 280. That experience the Bulls Head project different. We focused on the idea on bringing a prime developer, that specialize on bringing a holistic approach that will lift up lives. They have the familiarity and experience to bring heart back to Bulls Head. I am so happy we can correct the wrongs of the past, and with the help of Dawson, this area will rise again. We have not forgotten the families of Bulls Head. The promises we made, we will keep.”
“Bulls Head was my backyard, for a number of years,” said Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott. “This area is very vibrant. There was everything, and that is what neighborhoods were made of, and over time everything declined away. But to know this area will be valued again is what we are as in a city.”
“Thank you to everyone who has had the endurance to make this come true,” said Karen Emerson, President of the 19th Ward Community Association. “As neighbors we are the most excited to see the conclusion of this meeting — we have been meeting for decades, waiting patiently and hearing nothing, but finally we have it and we cannot wait to see this change as Bulls Head becomes the gateway of economic and influential opportunities to the south and west areas of the city.”
This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.