See more of the story

ROCHESTER - The Rochester City Council on Monday paved the way for a developer to demolish nearly a block of single-family homes near the downtown area, making way for a potential future housing project.

Developer Stack Downtown plans to raze nine of the 10 homes between 8th and 9th Streets NE and between an alley and 1st Avenue NE, just a block east of Broadway Avenue N with nearby shops and restaurants. The homes, built between 1900 and 1930, have been vacant for several years.

"They've deteriorated beyond being able to be fixed," Council member Shaun Palmer said. "It needs to get taken down in this neighborhood to make this neighborhood better."

The city has declared the homes structurally substandard, meaning they would cost a significant amount of money to fix up compared to replacing the homes altogether. An outside architecture firm's report estimates it would cost about $1.2 million to repair the homes and about $1.8 million to replace them.

Stack Downtown acquired the properties earlier this year and is looking to buy the remaining home on the block. The firm hasn't yet made solid plans but is looking to develop the site for housing. Stack Downtown could seek tax-increment breaks on a project within three years of demolishing the homes per an agreement with the city.

That doesn't mean the city will guarantee tax breaks on the property but it does open the window for further talks, according to city analyst Brent Svenby.