There is now a whole generation of Irondequoit children who have grown up knowing the former-mall as an increasingly empty or all-together vacant facility. In fact, it has been over a decade since anything new happened there, besides the closing of the few remaining anchor tenants.
Earlier this month, Irondequoit saw a momentous and symbolic victory as Conduent Inc. opened its doors for businesses in the former Macy’s Department store. Overnight, we have seen a long-empty parking lot at the west end of the mall, now full of Conduent workers’ cars. The company expects to eventually have upwards of 700 employees working at the location. The ripple effect on our many small businesses along the Ridge Road corridor is very promising.
Indeed, this is the first tangible sign of a revitalization at the mall, one that Irondequoit residents have patiently awaited. And while this economic development project comprises only 10 percent of the overall mall footprint, the relocation of this company to Irondequoit demonstrates the potential of the mall to attract businesses and help grow our region’s economy.
This complements the concept that the new owner of the mall has unveiled, rebranding the property Skyview on the Ridge. Irondequoit has traditionally been a bedroom community, one where residents would wake up in the morning and drive to another part of the region to work. That has begun to change, first with Rochester Regional Health branching out into the town. Now, I feel that the former mall is primed to attract business into Irondequoit.
Do we have a way to go with seeing the mall completely revitalized? Of course. This is not an easy task and will continue to require strategic planning and work of our collective ability to sell this community to prospective tenants. I do feel we have turned a significant corner, however, and we enter 2018 with more momentum that has been felt in many years.
Shifting gears, I am very happy that, under the leadership of the Irondequoit Police Department, the town is once again participating in the Willow Domestic Violence Center Purple Box campaign. This toy drive provides a gift of hope and healing to children living in the center’s emergency shelter. Between now and Dec. 17, residents are encouraged to drop off unused toys to one of three locations: the Police Department, the library or Town Hall. I thank you, in advance, for your participation.