Q: Last Friday, the Sibley Building was acquired by Sibley Redevelopment L.P., an affiliate of Winn Development LLC, the real estate development arm of Winn Cos. in Massachusetts. What do you see as the biggest opportunity that the Sibley Building offers for both your company and the community?
A: We believe the biggest opportunity the Sibley Building offers is the ability to participate in a meaningful way to the renaissance of downtown Rochester. The renovation of the Sibley Building, when combined with Midtown Rising, the new RGRTA transit center, RIT's new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship next door, the new Windstream building and other activities downtown, is creating a critical mass which will transform the area. When you stop and think about it, it's amazing how much is happening downtown right now. Also, we have a wonderful opportunity to turn the Sibley Building, which meant a great deal to so many Rochesterians, into something special again.
Q: When do you expect the upgrades to begin and end, and what will they entail?
A: Initial upgrades have already begun! The day after we closed, we started installing a new, state-of-the-art security system. You'll be seeing many other improvements over the next 12 months, including new lobbies, new escalators, new signs, new entryway improvements, a new Rochester Police Department substation and new tenants. It's the new Sibley Building. Over a 10-year period, the building will undergo a complete renovation so that Sibley will really have its own community of new retail, office and residential tenants.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in redevelopment of the site?
A: The building contains over a million square feet, which is an enormous project. However, we believe the wonderful community support that we have received, combined with our long-term commitment to the building and Rochester, is what it will take to succeed in redeveloping such a substantial project.
Q: How does this project compare with some of the company's other redevelopment projects, particularly historic ones, and do you have a specific philosophy in your approach to such projects?
A: Sibley is similar to many of our other projects. It combines the restoration of an historic building together with the economic revitalization of a neighborhood or district. Our philosophy as we approach these projects is to do all of the details correctly with a long-term view.
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