Hart's Local Grocers is going to get some help from the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency.
This afternoon, the COMIDA board approved a $145,000 incentive package for Rochester Local Capital, the company financing the planned East End grocery store. Rochester Local Capital plans to spend $3.6 million to renovate and equip the former Craig Autometrics building at 10 Winthrop Street, next to the Little Theatre. COMIDA Executive Director Judy Seil said the project will create the equivalent of 58 full-time jobs.
Glenn Kellogg, Rochester Local Capital's manager, told the COMIDA board that Hart's will be a full-service grocery store in an area certified by the US Department of Agriculture as a food desert. He said the store won't be high-end, and will feature national products as well as locally produced grocery items. He also explained that Rochester Local Capital is funded by himself and 17 local investors who have contributed between $15,000 and $25,000 each. They are simply "neighbors in downtown" who want the store to happen.
"This is also a service that really needed to build the walkable communities we want to see in our downtown," Kellogg said.
Hart's will take up 18,000 square feet of 10 Winthrop Street's 21,000 square foot first floor, Kellogg says. The other 3,000 square feet will remain occupied by the Little Theatre Cafe. Approximately 15,000 square feet on the building's second floor will be turned into office space, which is already drawing interest from some large, "well-loved institutions," he says.
Only one person showed up for a public hearing on the incentives package, which was held just prior to the meeting. Joanne Sasse, a frequent speaker at COMIDA meetings, questioned whether the project's benefits warranted assistance from taxpayers.