Property developer Lyjha Wilton is working to bring local business Main Street Meats, whose current location is in the 19th Ward at 626 Main Street, to a second location in the South Wedge.
Wilton, owner of the property located at the intersection of South Clinton and Averill Avenue, hopes to get a variance from the City of Rochester before his project can move forward. Although the project isn’t without its drawbacks, Wilton feels that with some architectural improvements the building can once again benefit the area. “What I’m proposing to do is actually going to reduce the amount of building coverage on the property” by demolishing garages which currently are located in the back of the property, and converting them into parking.
Plans to enclose the front portion of the building, which runs along South Clinton with an open space that exists within the property, will create a large warehouse and storage facility for the tenant. The conversion will reduce the current 3,000 square foot office space and instead provide over 6,000 square feet of retail and storage. Since he’s been in the area, Wilton feels this property, in its current form, hasn’t provided anything positive to the neighborhood. His proposal to bring Main Street Meats to the area will provide fifteen to twenty jobs, thus bringing more foot traffic and activity to the intersection as a result. Main Street
Meats co-owner Steve Levine feels the South Wedge area would be a good fit for their next location. Levine, who owns the business along with Ralph Newhart, describes their store as “a small grocery store with a heavy slant towards meats and proteins.”
Main Street Meats source their products from G&C, giving them access to deals on meats and various other supermarket staples. Each of the owners brings something different to the table; “I buy beef and pork, Ralph buys all of the deals” says Steve. “G&C ships over 6 million pounds a week, so we have access to very good pricing, and a lot of deals.”
“This is a business that has been around for a very long time” explains Wilton. “They’re not closing their other location, they’re just expanding and I think they offer something not currently offered in the wedge. We have a high-end butcher in the Wedge which is great; I’m a big fan of it. This is kind of the other end of the spectrum.” Kevin McCann, owner of nearby McCann’s Local Meats, hopes to see the proposed storefront bring a positive energy to the area. “A lot of very exciting businesses have opened in the South Wedge recently. Owners that have been excited about the upswing the neighborhood has seen are investing their effort and money to continue that progress. We are seen as a destination for high quality experiences of many kinds with complementary businesses often sharing the same customers.”
Architect Christian Duerr, who is working with Wilton on this project, hopes to see the variance granted and proposes the development with take five to six months to complete. Some changes that Duerr would make to the property would be adding a store front to the existing South Clinton Building façade that meets the zoning requirements. Along with that change Duerr added, “we will be adding an overhead door to the Averill Avenue building façade for an on street loading zone, building a new parking lot that meets zoning requirements and is in the rear of the site hidden from the street, demolishing outbuildings and using the compound walls to build a new building that fronts South Clinton for the retail portion of the meat market.”
Before the plan can move forward, however, Wilton and Duerr need to get the variance approval from the City of Rochester’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Issues regarding the size of the new structure, as well as additional traffic and parking questions with the addition of a loading zone along Averill Avenue, have raised concerns in the neighborhood. However Wilton feels that the long-term benefits to the area outweigh the problems. “It’s going to bring a lot of people to the neighborhood that are going to do their shopping there, and whenever people come to do one thing they’re likely to come back to do another. If they shop there one day they’re going to go to the restaurant nearby the next.”