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Mt. Hope Campus Wegmans Food Market

Wegmans Food Market

The Mt. Hope neighborhood had seen several small food markets before Wegmans opened a new store at 1411 Mt. Hope on November 16, 1960.  The company expanded rapidly and desired to build larger stores.  The 21,000-square-foot Mt. Hope location was targeted for expansion, and in 1997 the University agreed to lease them 7.3 acres that included the Towne House and Mt. Hope Professional building.  The proposed 70,000-square-foot new store proved to be too expensive and Wegmans scaled back their plans in 2002 to simply expand into the existing building by taking over the space occupied by a bank and CVS.. The resulting 31,000-square-foot store was also thought to be uneconomic to build and operate, so Wegmans abandoned the site on October 1, 2003, after which they sold the property to the University.

1960 "New Wegman's Opens Today," Democrat and Chronicle, November 16, 1960, Page 24.
New store at 1411 Mt. Hope Ave at Crittenden Boulevard.

1997 "A Bigger Mt. Hope Wegmans," Democrat and Chronicle, July 9, 1997, Page 10D.
The chain will lease a site from UR to build a 70,000-square-foot supermarket.
Wegmans Food Markets said yesterday it plans to build a 70,000-square-foot supermarket on the southwest corner of Mt. Hope and Elmwood avenues to replace a 37-year-old store less than a block away.
The Gates-based supermarket chain has reached agreement in principle to lease a 7.3-acre site from the University of Rochester. The site is occupied by the UR Towne House and the Mt. Hope Professional Building and is adjacent to the 21,000-square-foot Mt. Hope Wegmans, at Mt. Hope and Crittenden Boulevard.
Terms of the agreement, which is subject to approval, were not disclosed. Wegmans is not expected to take possession of the property until mid-1999, said UR spokesman Robert Kraus.
"The idea in principle is that we would be leasing them the 7.3 acres for 40 years," Kraus said. After that, the 3.1 acres occupied by the Mt. Hope Wegmans and the leased property would revert to the university.
Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale said additional leased retail space would be built adjacent to the super market, but she had no details. Natale characterized the current store as "small and needing to be updated. It's not possible to carry a broad selection of products that are really necessary for those shoppers." The last new construction by Wegmans within the Rochester city limits was the Driving Park Avenue store, built in 1964, Natale said. She said Wegmans hopes to keep the Mt. Hope store open until the new store is completed. She said the company could not estimate how long it would take to build the store once it leases the land. Kraus said part of the Towne House property, built in the early 1950s, is used for telecommunications and computing departments. The need to move those departments is the reason Wegmans will not be able to take possession of the property sooner.

1998 "City poor pay more for food, says survey," Democrat and Chronicle, January 30, 1998, Page 1. | Part 2 |
Wegmans hopes to expand its store on Mt. Hope Avenue in the city.  But the project has been stalled because construction costs - including the demolition of two University of Rochester buildings - has been estimated at $20 million.
"It is a very costly project," Natale says.  Wegmans has asked the city for financial assistance, but no decision has been made.

2002 "Mt. Hope Wegmans to Expand," Democrat and Chronicle, May 25, 2002, Page 14D.
Wegmans  Food Markets Inc. will expand its 21,000-square-foot store on Mt. Hope Avenue in the city, introducing a retro motif to give it the appearance of a classic 1970s grocery.
The new 32,000-square-foot store, with tall glass walls in front and a wavy awning, will include a large cafe to serve the Strong Memorial Hospital and University of Rochester communities.
Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale confirmed the plans, which were laid out for the Upper Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association earlier this week. The expansion will use the space formerly occupied by an M&T Bank and a CVS pharmacy adjacent to the current store.
"It went over very well," said Tony Correa, neighborhood association president. "There were like 100 people there, and they were all in favor of it. There was only one concern they are going to close off all of the curb cuts (on Mt. Hope) and just leave one, putting a light there opposite Record Archive."
The concern was that adding a traffic light could cause congestion because lights also control traffic at the intersection of Mt. Hope and Elmwood avenues and where Mt. Hope splits into East and West Henrietta roads.
Wegmans said they hoped to synchronize the lights, and a preliminary study indicated that could ease congestion.
If all approvals are obtained by August, construction could begin by Jan. 1. Work would take 12 to 18 months. It will be done in phases, and the store will remain open throughout.
Wegmans will build a two-lane service road between Mt. Hope and Crittenden Boulevard, which runs along the south side of the property.
The store will expand the produce department and add prepared foods, sushi, pizza, a coffee bar, a phar expand macy with a drive-through window, a recycling center and other amenities associated with Wegmans' super stores.
The company says it also plans to renovate the parking lot.
The renovation will replace plans to build a 70,000-square-foot store on the southwest corner of Mt. Hope and Elmwood avenues. That plan, introduced in 1997, was scrapped when Wegmans and the University of Rochester could not reach agreement on the exchange of the property, which is owned by the university.

2003 "A City Grocery to Close," Democrat and Chronicle, August 19, 2003, Page 1. | Part 2 |
Wegmans Food Markets Inc. said Monday that it would close its Mt. Hope Avenue store before Thanksgiving, leaving city officials concerned and neighborhood residents disappointed. neighbors The company had received zoning approval to expand the store near the corner of Mt. Hope and Elmwood avenues but now says that it would be too expensive to go ahead with the plans. The store is not making money, and a planned dismayed by Wegmans 13,000-square-foot expansion would not change that fact, said Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale. The Mt. Hope store is the smallest and the oldest still operating in the Wegmans chain, she said. The company had been considering expansion options for the 21,403-square-foot store since the mid-1990s. However, "As we got down to the design details, the costs of an expansion were just too high," Natale said. The company had considered other options, Natale said, including purchasing adjacent land from the University of Rochester, but never completed a deal.

2003 "Oct. 11 last day at Wegmans," Democrat and Chronicle, October 1, 2003, Page 10D.
The Mt. Hope Avenue Wegmans Food Markets store will close at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11.

2003 "Smallest, oldest Wegmans closes for good today," Democrat and Chronicle, October 11, 2003, Page 1. | Part 2 |

2021 Morris A. Pierce