By DREW HOWARD
The Rochester Planning Commission approved plans for a $46 million senior living center on the northwest corner of Elizabeth and Second Street, which its developer describes as “attainable, not affordable” in terms of its tenant rent structure.
The proposed senior living center “Blossom Mills” is sized at over 243,000 square feet with 137 units, and includes plans for resident amenities such as a spa, dining area, library, valet parking, and a rooftop infinity pool.
Planning Commission scored the project a passing grade of 15 out of 20 as it relates to sustainability, with points being knocked off for the development’s affordability. Blossom Mills rental options include a 1 bed/1 bath ($2,800 – $3,300), 2 bed/1 bath ($3,400 – $3,700) and 2 bed/2 bath ($4,200 – $4,700), according to developers.
Developer Dominic Moceri of Moceri Cos. insisted that while Blossom Mills isn’t affordable, the prices are still comparable to similar projects. “What we’re providing is attainable,” Moceri told commission members. “Our proposed lease rates are slightly lower than competing projects with twice the amenities. If I add all the benefits then that exceeds what’s being provided.”
While the commission voted unanimously in approval of the development, not all residents were convinced the project was a good fit for Rochester. Several expressed concern over what they considered to be unaffordable rent prices, as well as the implications the center would have on foot traffic downtown.
One resident was also concerned over plans for the Blossom Mills’ proposed spa, which developers say will be open to Royal Park Hotel residents under certain restrictions. “Are we putting in something that people pay for, or is this just gratuity for people who are guests at the Royal Park?” the Rochester resident asked. “In all of my years working in the medical profession, and having done a lot of work with residential assisted living, memory units, nursing homes, and independent senior living, I’ve never seen one development where somebody can just walk in and use a service.”
Blossom Mills was not without its supporters, though. Terry Brady told the commission she would consider bringing her mother into the Blossom Mills community. “While affordability may be paramount to some people, I think it’s really thinking about the quality of life and what we envision for our community and the people who live here,” she said. “We could not be happier to see this sort of use being considered for this land.”
Another resident also praised the new development. “I support this wholeheartedly,” she said. “I think Moceri has brought quality into this community here for years, and this is no exception. I want to put in my two cents because it helps the value of my home and the community.”
With the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval, developers will move forward and bring plans for Blossom Mills in front of the Rochester City Council for final approval.