The Alliance Building is Reborn as 'The Linc'

The Lincoln Alliance Bank building dramatically altered the Rochester skyline when it was completed in 1926. Capped by a beautiful coned spire, The 15-story corporate showcase towered 175 feet over Main Street.

Almost 100 years later, the Alliance Building isn’t even among the city’s 20 tallest (in fairness, the original spire was removed in the ‘60s, reducing the height to its current 157 feet). But the graceful three-sectioned building has survived, and is now being re-born as downtown’s newest residential address—The Linc.

Photo Credit: Rochester Subway

Come July, Morgan Communities will begin leasing 130 new apartments they’ve developed in partnership with DHD Ventures (which purchased the building in 2015). The project puts the Alliance Building’s 167,000 square feet back in use after several years of uncertainty and unfulfilled hopes. Most recently, a planned $22 million dollar makeover was abandoned over asbestos concerns in 2012.

But that wasn’t the first time the fate of the Alliance Bank Building was in question...

Back in 1967, barely 40 years after its construction, the building was almost torn down to make way for what was essentially its replacement—Lincoln Rochester's gleaming new Clinton Square project (i.e. Lincoln First Tower; later known as Chase Tower, and now The Metropolitan). Demolition was considered for the Alliance Bank Building as part of the massive original Clinton Square proposal (below), which called for 4 smaller office buildings on each corner of the 27-story main tower.

Photo Credit: Rochester Subway

Eventually, however, the scale of the complex was reduced—thus saving the Alliance Building—and the $20 million, 392-foot Lincoln First Tower opened in the summer of 1972. In a strange twist, it was actually the elimination of those four additional office buildings that doomed the attractive fire tower "spire" atop the Alliance Building. Not wanting to take away from the dramatic view of its new marble-finned skyscraper, bank officials had the spire removed—yet another short-sighted example of the urban renewal mindset of the time.

Fortunately, however, the Alliance Building survived the wrecking ball altogether, and is now ready to take on a new life. The time-consuming and complex conversion to modern residential apartments is virtually complete. At full occupancy the property will contribute another 200+ residents to the growing population of downtown Rochester. The re-activation of the building will also add to the growing vibrancy of Main Street by contributing at least two retail storefronts.

Morgan Communities is beginning to offer hard hat tours of the new studio, 1-, and 2-bedroom units. They’re promising high-end finishes, spacious floor plans and outstanding amenities for residents. It will be interesting to see how quickly they lease out, considering the addition of so many other new downtown units at nearby Sibley Square and (ironically) The Metropolitan.

Renderings of the new apartments at The Linc

The impact of the Alliance Building conversion can not be underestimated. In terms of incremental progress towards the vibrancy of Main Street, the building represents one of the core pieces to the puzzle. Come summer, what has been for several years one of the largest dormant structures downtown will instead become just the opposite… a lively example of the resilience of the center city.

The renovation and conversion also, of course, represents another hopeful example of the creative reuse of a grand old building worth saving. We won’t have to see the pictures below and wonder what ever became of yet another of downtown Rochester's architectural jewels. Funky new name aside, we’ll be able to look at "The Linc" and connect it to the past. We’ll be able to trace it’s path as the home of one of Rochester’s earliest commercial titans, right through to its reimagining as one of the flagship examples of downtown’s residential rebirth.

For more information about the Alliance Building’s multi-million dollar makeover into "The Linc", visit

By Mike Gilbert - April 29, 2018

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