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Boston real estate firm acquires Sibley Centre

Rochester Business Journal
November 16, 2012

A Boston-based real estate firm announced Friday afternoon that the sale of the Sibley Centre in downtown Rochester has closed.

Sibley Redevelopment L.P., an affiliate of WinnDevelopment LLC, is the buyer. Rochwil Associates L.P., a subsidiary of Wilmorite Properties Inc., is the seller.

Partnering with WinnDevelopment on the project is Rochester attorney Gerard DiMarco. Financing for the acquisition and renovation of the Sibley Building has been provided by Genesee Regional Bank.

“The Sibley Building is an iconic structure in downtown Rochester and we are thrilled to start working on our redevelopment plan,” said Gilbert Winn, managing principal, WinnDevelopment. “Winn is looking forward to creating an urban center that will greatly benefit the local community and contribute to the revitalization of a great city.”

Winn Cos. project executive Christopher Fleming in September detailed initial redevelopment plans for the 1,085,000-square-foot, 12-story commercial building. Plans for the Sibley Centre include market-rate housing on the top three floors and affordable housing on three floors below that.

The building will be redeveloped for mixed uses, Fleming said, with retail businesses on the first and second floors and office space on the third and sixth floors.
Market-rate apartments are planned for floors 10 through12, with affordable housing on floors seven through nine, he said.
Monroe Community College will continue to occupy the fourth and fifth floors under the school's five-year lease extension. The floors will be converted to office space if MCC relocates after five years.

An additional 80,000 square feet of space will be occupied by smaller retail and office tenants, including the University of Rochester, the Rochester Police Department and Rainbow Clothing.
 The company plans to spend $3.75 million on repairs and improvements, including compliance with MCC's lease arrangement, city officials said. It will spend $100 million to $150 million over 10 years to completely renovate the building, city officials said.

Winn will complete major improvements to the existing building, making repairs to the HVAC system, masonry, roof and atrium, and elevators and escalators; installing an improved security system, tenant improvements, minor environmental remediation; and delivering ground floor and exterior aesthetic renovations. Winn plans to develop retail, commercial, institutional and educational space on the first six floors, along with affordable and market rate housing on floors seven through 12. 

The present Sibley structure on 3.5 acres at the northwest corner of East Main and Franklin streets had its beginnings 107 years ago, following a fire in 1904 that destroyed the original Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Co. department store.
A 391,444-square-foot, five-story section along East Main was built in 1905, information from the online Department Store Museum states. A 585,372-square-foot, 12-story section was added in 1926.
WinnDevelopment entered into a site control agreement with Rochwil in September 2009 to purchase the building, city officials said.
Hundreds of new construction jobs will be created as a result of the renovation and hundreds of new permanent jobs and new residents will be located downtown as a result of the leasing process, Winn Development official said. In addition, the building will immediately begin paying taxes, which will increase over time as the building is renovated and leased.

The Architectural Team will serve as the architect on this redevelopment project, and DiMarco Constructors will act as the construction manager.

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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