Photo by Deborah Kaufman – Martin Babinec along with Mayor Mark Blask prepare to cut the ribbon at Rock City Centre on Wednesday night.

by Dave Warner

Rock City Centre held its official ribbon-cutting event on Wednesday night, with the rain holding off just long enough to allow the ceremony on the front steps, with the party on the roof.

While guests gathered on the roof for some food and drink, Babinec told them that they didn’t want to bulldoze the original building that had been on the site because they didn’t want to start from scratch.

“We wanted to have some remnants of the original building.”

He said that the combination of both engineering and architecture was a very important part of the project. Everything from the living wall on two floors to the rooftop deck and the flooring that was used to channel water without having drains created unique challenges for the construction crews.

The project was so much more complicated because, “We kept evolving the scope. Before we started the building, it was going to be a conventional office structure. What you see here today is not conventional by Upstate New York standards,” stated Babinec.

“This was a big undertaking, and of course, Covid was a drag. We started working on this pre-Covid and then boom. Construction was shut down…we couldn’t even continue. Then pieces of it came online, but we had struggles,” he said.

Even when it was finished, Babinec said there were problems because nobody wanted to come back and work in offices, so he wondered, where did that leave us?

“The beauty of building community, which was always the vision, was really made possible because of the change in how we work – where people who were working remotely, were suddenly looking for opportunities to come in and not only work out of their homes but work out of an office environment, where they could spend time with other professionals.”

Babinec went on to say that from the beginning, they wanted to set a balance between the esthetics and the functional aspects of the building.

“This is a building that has come together because we have so many people that believed that we could build something that would have a lasting impact on community, and we’re already starting to see that,” he stated.

“Where this all goes over time? Who knows?”