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Bloom Says Mayo Hotel Project Left Them "Blindsided"

February 08, 2019 05:42 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The city of Rochester spent nearly four years working on a two tower, $230 million development project that would include senior living, retail, condos and a luxury hotel.

“A couple weeks ago we had heard through an email from Bloom representatives that they would be sharing a formal letter with us, and that’s when we asked them to have it to us by the 29th,” said City Administrator Steve Rymer.

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When Jan 29 came and went and the city didn’t hear from the Abu Dhabi-based developer, the Bloom project was considered done.

At this week’s past city council meeting, 2nd Ward Council Member Michael Wojcik said, “Bloom is dead, dead, dead.”

Then Thursday, the city got a letter from Bloom.

“Like they shared with us before that the market has changed over the course of the last few years, there’s different projects in the pipeline now and so they were prepared to move forward with the first phase, but they wanted to do some additional market analysis,” Rymer said.

In the letter, Bloom apologized for their delay and said they were not abandoning the project.

In December, Bloom told the city they wanted to re-assess the second tower, which would house a luxury hotel, and in their letter, they explained:

“… the hotel element of our project was intended to address the present shortage of luxury hotel accommodation in Rochester… Bloom was blindsided by the Mayo Clinic’s announcement that it intends to develop an upscale hotel, directly on its site…”

Bloom said the hotel that’s planned to go on top of the Gonda Building would “create a considerable competitive disadvantage” for their project.

Wojcik, who was skeptical about the Bloom project from the beginning, said he doesn’t buy that explanation.

““I have a number of reasons to believe that that is in fact an excuse, and has nothing to do with the actual project falling apart,” he said.

Mayo Clinic responded to the letter, saying:

“The Mayo Clinic Gonda Building expansion helps meet increased requests for patient care space on our downtown campus and fulfills an unmet hospitality option for some of Mayo clinic’s patients. Mayo Clinic is incredibly pleased with the pace of private investment occurring in the market place to secure Rochester’s future as a national and international destination medical center.”

Rymer said despite Bloom’s letter, the city’s position hasn’t changed.

“We are moving on, we’re moving forward, we’re excited about the new opportunity and we really look forward to that next conversation with the community,” he said.

Wojcik said he’s excited for the future of the 2.5 acre riverfront property.

“The reality is we are not desperate. We can maintain our dignity, decide what we as a community want to do, and find partners who are willing to deliver on that vision,” he said.

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Alice Keefe

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