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Answer Man: Council acts tonight on Conley-Maass project

Dear Answer Man, what's going on at the Conley-Maass building on Fourth Street? Wasn't that going to be renovated for a restaurant or something?

Good question, and tonight is a big night for that project. The Rochester City Council, acting at the city economic development authority, will take up the project at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, and they'll be talking about $400,000 in tax increment financing to help that project along. Actually, the city will offer up to $400,000 or no greater than 15 years of increment, whichever comes first. FYI, the deal assumes an interest rate of 3 percent.

I'll link to the council packet and proposed agreement with this column online. The EDA will vote on whether to enter a development assistance agreement with the developer. The project, proposed by a Rochester limited liability company called CMD Holdings, would renovate the historic building at 12 Fourth Street SW for office space as well as possibly a cafe or restaurant.

Work on the project has to begin this month and be wrapped up by Dec. 31 of next year. Construction is expected to cost just under $2.4 million. A Rochester couple, Hunter and Traci Downs, bought the building for $450,000 in June from a Chafoulias-related real estate company . They had an open house in September for people to tour the 115-year-old building, which was home to the Conley Camera Co. when it was first built and more recently was home to the Words Players Theatre .

The Conley camera factory was a big deal in Rochester about 115 years ago, mainly thanks to Sears, Roebuck & Co., which is how most of the inexpensive cameras were sold. They never caught on like Kodak's Brownie box camera, which came out about the same time in February 1900, but the Conley company had a pretty good ride, ending in the late 1920s, when technology was changing and the Great Depression was approaching.


Among the Conley camera models was the Queen City View Camera -- Rochester being known as the Queen City in those days.

Dear Answer Man, why have you never written about farms that raise boneless chickens for boneless chicken wings? I think it's disgraceful that chickens are farmed for that purpose.

Nobody has ever asked me about it. Over the weekend, a friendly fellow at Five West asked my boss about it, though, and my boss passed it along.

I have to agree, genetic modification has gone too far when chickens can be grown without bones in their wings. What's next, genetically modified chickens that already contain buffalo sauce and celery sticks?

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