A proposed patio enlargement appears to be helping pave the way for the access of $3.5 million in tax-increment financing funds for the Miracle Mile project that opened in 2019.
The $35 million project that added apartments, a grocery store and coffee shop has a TIF agreement with the city, but access to the financing is on hold until the developer receives a final certificate of occupancy, which has been stalled due to unapproved changes to the project.
On Wednesday, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a plan to add 330 square feet of patio space between the existing Fiddlehead Coffee patio and sidewalk along 16th Avenue Southwest.
Other proposed changes include adding an artistic element to extend a fence screening air-handling units to make up for a missing window and other efforts to improve the public view of the newest addition to the Miracle Mile complex.
“We feel quite strongly that it will be an enhancement to the southeast section, and the coffee shop area will be really attractive to the community,” said Chris Ness, the Miracle Mile director of facilities, who attended Wednesday’s virtual meeting with developer Javon Bea.
Earlier this year, Bea asked the Rochester City Council to approve changes to the project that were made during construction, but failed to receive required approvals. They included placing air-handling units on a portion of the planned patio and removing a window that would have looked out onto the units.
At the time, Bea said the changes were made to respond to needs for the eventual occupants of the building. He said extending patio space into the parking lot would have hampered operations for Fresh Thyme Market and Fiddlehead Coffee.
On Wednesday, he said the changes supported by the Planning and Zoning Commission were made after working with staff from the city’s Community Development department to find answers to city council concerns.
In January, the council voted 5-3 to deny the acceptance of changing the official plans to reflect the current building, sending the issue back to Bea for new ideas to address concerns.
“Every development tradeoff was made against the city’s interest,” council member Patrick Keane said at the time.
On Wednesday, Community Development staff noted the Kutzky Park Neighborhood Association submitted a letter of support for the latest proposed changes.
The commission’s recommendation for approval will be sent to the city council for a public hearing and eventual decision on the proposed changes.