ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hundreds marched through the city of Rochester Wednesday evening, advocating for residents of the Hotel Cadillac. Next Friday the historic hotel will close for renovations. While the building is in need of repairs, it was a place that many low income residents made home.
"We have folks that are in the Cadillac that have been given a 30-day notice when they have lived there for 25 years and beyond," said Elizabeth McGriff of the City-Wide Tenant Union.
The building was bought by DHD Ventures last month. Protesters marched to their headquarters where they attempted to deliver a letter demanding that the new property include affordable housing options. Employees held the doors shut on the protesters.
"They want to close the door on us, they have nothing to say, they don't want to talk about anything. It's all kinds of excuses, 'oh, no one's here,' stop the excuses," said Orezont Ragans.
While DHD has yet to reveal what they plan to do with the property, residents believe that it will be turned into market-rate housing.
"They want more than what we can afford, we're on a fixed income, what we have to live month-to-month," said Ragans.
"So they're building all this housing, but it's not for the people that need it," said McGriff.
They say that the city needs to provide more affordable housing to keep the city accessible to everyone.
"You have people of diverse backgrounds, which is what our city is, it's a city of diversity so it should stay and remain that," said McGriff.
"We need all the help that we can. We're going to fight to the end, we're not giving up. This is a war that we're fighting with the system and it's not right," said Ragans.
The group is also accusing the city of making it easy for the developer to purchase the building by granting a $6.1 million tax exemption for their nearby luxury apartments.
"We're tired of the city taking money from developers and not meeting the needs of their people," said McGriff.
While the city says that they are working to increase affordable housing, they say that they can not dictate the fate of the Hotel.
"That's a private development so we don't have control over the property, that's between the private developer, but when the city puts in dollars we always make sure that there's an affordable component," said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
Warren also said that on Tuesday night, legislation was passed to renovate Southview Towers which provides low income housing in the city of Rochester. However, those who remain close to the issue continue to seek support.
"You can lose everything you have within an instant. So I challenge everyone, please get involved and unite. Help us stop this homelessness and help us get low income housing," said Ragans.
The group plans to speak to a representative from the Governor's office at noon on Thursday.