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RBTL Still Has Faith in Medley

Chairman talks about why he believes the stalled mall redevelopment will go ahead.
The chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League still has faith in the Medley Centre redevelopment. Mall owner Scott Congel has promised to build RBTL a new performing arts center, but the project has been stalled.

"I've been in hundreds of hours of meetings. That's the truth, with banks, PILOT bonding companies, restaurant operating companies, theater designers and the developer," said Arnold Rothschild during an appearance on News 8 First at 4. "Because of a lot of hard work that's gone on in the background - and we all know that Mr. Congel doesn't talk much - I'm very confident that everything continues to move forward."

Rothschild has been serving as a sort of spokesman for Congel, who doesn't live in Rochester and has not given extensive interviews about his plans. 

Rothschild said the main hold up is that Congel needs a revised payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. He has missed benchmarks for investment. Without a revised agreement, Rothschild said funding won't be released. 

"Once COMIDA, the town, the school district are in line, then he can move forward, complete the funding and construction can start," Rothschild said. "But when you understand the overall scope of this project which is hundreds of millions of dollars, it's not like you put it on your credit card - it's a pretty complex financial deal."

Rothschild said the East Irondequoit School District is being very difficult in negotiations. Assistant Superintendent John Abbott said there are not talks scheduled and the district has long made its position about the PILOT and Congel's obligations clear. Rothschild said the matter could end up in litigation.

Meanwhile, Congel plans to start demolition this week on several buildings on the mall property. But this does not mean the rest of the redevelopment is a "go."

Watch our interview with Rothschild by clicking the video above.
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