ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Who could forget the sight last week of one of Rochester’s downtown buildings deteriorating to the point where its siding collapsed onto the street. So how could this happen to a city so focused on revitalization?  

If you drive down Chestnut St. by the Florence intersection, the roads are still blocked off as crews clean up the old siding.

The Evans administration tells us they’re switching to a more unified approach to track down vacant building owners so they can build a new image for downtown and not let other properties get this bad.  

Since becoming Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, Dana Miller discovered 19 commercial buildings still sit vacant downtown, and is trying to switch the city to a more unified approach to track down the owners to make more investments in their property. 

“Some of the owners are not local so it’s a little bit more challenging to find a local contact for the owner that’s in Arizona,” Commissioner Miller said. “But when we find that contact and bring them in to make sure we’re all moving together.”  

The Chestnut St. building was up to date on property taxes, which in the past was many Developers’ only concern with the Neighborhood and Business Development Department. When they’re locked and vacant the city is unable to go inside to enforce all building codes to stop them from decaying. 

“In the past, people were thinking well I own this building, so I’ll work on this building on my own schedule,” Miller continued. “If I don’t well if I pay my taxes no one is going to bother me. Now we want people to see we have a more unified vision for downtown.”  

One of those new visions is being drawn up at the old Xerox building, where Evan Gallina is about to complete phase two of Innovation Square. Renovating another five floors into housing for college upper class and graduate students. To keep future entrepreneurs investing their careers downtown.  

“As soon as you start to make this investment and you start to bring people downtown to create old buildings into residential all of a sudden the lights started staying on longer,” Gallina said. “With that comes the natural growth of the bars, the entertainment.” 

By the end of phase three at Innovation Square, Gallina believes the Xerox building can house over 400 students with businesses opening below the building.

Keeping young entrepreneurs downtown to build their careers.