Are Bigger Homes Changing Downtown Rochester?

Bigger homes continue to be built in Downtown Rochester and some residents are concerned it will change the look of the city. Some say property values will go up—being next to new home construction—others say they it will go down. Have you noticed them?

Bloomingdale Construction Homes Continue in Rochester - photo by Michael Dwyer

Bloomingdale Construction Homes Continue to be Built in Rochester – photo by Michael Dwyer

According to Robert Bloomingdale, one of the owners of Bloomingdale Construction, the complaint he hears the most about is the congestion of traffic at a construction site. With the average Rochester lot being only fifty-feet wide, the homes are close to each other. This adds to the congestion of delivery trucks, work vehicles, and heavy equipment needed in the remodel, rebuild, or new construction site. Bloomingdale is one of the larger of several construction companies working in the Rochester Area.

Word on the Street

Robert Bloomingdale told Rochester Media that outside of the “congestion” complaint, he’s only heard about one other issue on Elizabeth Street involving a 1950s ranch being turned into a two-story, larger home. Residents expressed concerns in June. Since then, Bloomingdale says the homeowner has about 80% of neighborhood residents in favor of his new home. The homeowner contracted with Bloomingdale to do the work.

Example House and Lot Before

Example House and Lot Before

Rochester is a popular place. Statistics keep building up the reputation of the city and it continues to be a place where people want to live. Bloomingdale started doing business in Rochester in 2001 and has done about 100 home projects to date. Seventy percent are remodeled or added-on homes; and 30% are new construction. However, the trend is now leaning toward newer homes. People want two things when moving to the area, a front porch and being in walking distance to downtown, says Bloomingdale.

How it Works

Rochester Media contributor Meghan Zeile has used Bloomingdale twice in Rochester. Once to remodel a home and more recently to build a new home. Her experience is a common one. “The old home was in awful shape with absolutely no hope of a remodel. My only regret is that our neighbors had to deal with living so close to a construction site. We tried very hard to make our house fit into the existing neighborhood, which was one of the reasons we hired Bloomingdale as our construction company,” said Zeile.

New House, Same Lot, After

New House, Same Lot, After

Bloomingdale Construction is known for trying to fit a new home to the existing style and character of the neighborhood. In fact, Meghan’s neighbors are now using Bloomingdale for their new home project and said, “The owners of the new build currently under construction next to me kept the original garage and beautiful rock wall in the back … and they are going to try to match that stone with the stone on the front of the house.”

Robert Bloomingdale is a member of the historic commission, won the 2013 Downtown Development Authority volunteer-of-the-year award, and continues to give back to the community. Nonetheless, residents are still concerned with the big homes going in.

But the Big Homes are Still Big Homes

It’s true that a small ranch home of less than 1000 square feet may be demolished and replaced with the two-story home, 2200-2700 square feet in size on the same lot, dwarfing the older homes next to it. Nik Banda, Deputy City Manager for Rochester, confirmed that all the new homes going in are adhering to local ordinances and are within the rights of all laws governing the projects. Lots in Rochester can only have thirty percent occupied with the home—more directly, structures with roofs. Homes, covered porches, and garages all count toward that 30%—landscaping, driveways, and sidewalks do not.

The Numbers

One of the many New Construction Homes (contractor unknown for this photo) in Downtown Rochester - photo by Michael Dwyer

One of the many New Construction Homes (contractor unknown for this photo) in Downtown Rochester – photo by Michael Dwyer

People are making a big investment with their big home. A typical example is a lot and older home on the market for $180,000–220,000. New construction could be well over $400,000. After new construction, it’s quite common for the value to triple—so do the taxes—from the original rates. On average, the older homes may be paying $3,000 per year in property taxes while the new, bigger homes may be paying the city $9,000 in taxes. The city of Rochester is sure to like those numbers.

So, as long as people keep moving to the area and the need is there, expect more big homes to replace those smaller, older ones—maybe just down the street from you.

The Community Edge would like to hear from you. Have you experienced this on your street? Perhaps you’ve replaced your older home with a new one. Which building company did you use? Are you happy in your big home? Please comment or email the editor with your thoughts.

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at


  1. This article shows pictures of a few new homes that fit in with Rochester and compliment the city.
    Why not show pictures of the huge ugly brick homes that are completely out of character with the city?.
    Keep building those homes and the city will no longer be what it is today. The hometown atmosphere will be gone.

  2. Lisa Hook says

    True but please post some pics of how out of proportion these homes are with the consistency of these small neighborhoods.

Speak Your Mind