Economy Journalism Rochester

PAETEC: Seriously, Rochester. Let’s Not Do This.

The Midtown Plaza drama continues, picture via DragonFlyEye.Net

I don’t think anyone in Rochester or the surrounding area needs to explain to anyone else why the PAETEC sale is a big shot in the gut. We get it. And somehow or another, things need to be made right. But we don’t start here:

PAETEC head must advocate for city | Democrat and Chronicle |

Mayor Thomas Richards is absolutely right to say that focusing on keeping jobs here needs to be the top priority. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy should get involved as part of the state’s economic development efforts.

The second challenge is what will become of the portion of the Midtown plot where PAETEC’s new office tower was envisioned. Here is where PAETEC CEO Arunas Chesonis, who first approached then-Mayor Duffy about moving his company downtown, needs to step up.

Former Mayor become Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy needs to step up and help out. Former owner of PAETEC and downtown developer become wealthy retiree Chesonis needs to step up…

Holy shit, girl. How many exes are you gonna cling to before you realize you’ve got to handle this on your own?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

7 replies on “PAETEC: Seriously, Rochester. Let’s Not Do This.”

Um, no. These two schmucks drove us to the edge of the cliff, promising a bridge. Then jumped out of the car, leaving it in neutral, and headed for the beach. They need to clean up this mess they made.

Its fine to say they need to clean up their mess, but then what? How to enforce it?

The problem is that Rochester plays the victim in the first place. Don’t let yourself get into these situations – no firm attachments, just exploring. Sound familiar? – and you don’t have to get yourself out. Great that we have a guy to blame in the form of Duffy or Chesonis if you like, but it doesn’t get us anywhere and we have no power to compel them to do much of anything.

Besides which, what do you expect? Our mayor is going to grovel before The Big Windy and beg them to save our jobs and build our nice downtown building. Great, what if they say yes? We’re beholden to their good graces, rather than their business sense, to keep those jobs. Tax write-offs abound. Promises abound. Till they finally pull up stakes anyway.

With “no firm attachments, just exploring” NOTHING gets built.

We get to look at lots of pretty drawings, though.

Can’t we look on the bright side? Without PAETEC’S “promise” to move the HQ downtown, Duffy would not have been able to secure the state funding to rehab Midtown. Now that the funding is in place, why not take this as an opportunity to attract other businesses downtown? The site looks much more attractive to new lessees after it’s been remodeled. Or, we could have just left Midtown open with its 8 stores and three eating establishments. And the more than 60% unoccupied space in the 9 other buildings. Opportunity, people.
Additionally, stop the whining about them perhaps not employing people here. If those jobs go, they are not that many in the scheme of things. Among private sector employers, PAETEC is number 30 something. I shake my head at the notion that Chessonis is to Rochester what Roger Smith was to Flint, Michigan. Dry the crocodile tears up and let’s move on.

I have to agree, for the most part. We have every reason to be pissed off at the situation with Midtown and PAETEC, but justification or no, at the end of the tirade, we have the same problem. Great to get it out of your system, but this plaintive cry for help that the D&C op-ed highlights is just spinning our wheels.

And you’re right: a thirty-year psychodrama that is Midtown is finally gone. We can move on.

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