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Homes and Community Renewal

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Announces Ground Breaking for Redevelopment of Sibley Building in Rochester

June 13, 2016

Newly-Rebranded Sibley Square Will Be Home To Retail; Office; Luxury Apartment Spaces; and Mixed Income and Active Senior Living Apartments

Project Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) today announced that WinnDevelopment and GDD Properties have broken ground on the redevelopment of nearly 500,000 square feet of the historic Sibley Square in Rochester. A FLREDC priority project, the phased, $200 million project broke ground on the major $100 million phase of the development that includes the construction of 96 creatively designed luxury apartment homes on the 9th through 12th floors, retail on Main Street, office space in the mid-rise, mixed income and active senior living apartments, and a complete rehabilitation of the entire facade and windows of the building.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined state, city and local leaders to celebrate the ground breaking. 

“The renovation of this historic building is symbolic of the rebirth of downtown Rochester as a place to work and also call home,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With this project we preserve the city's rich economic and cultural legacy while laying the foundation for future prosperity. The Sibley Building is already at the center of the Rochester innovation zone, and now it will also be at the heart of a new era of downtown living. This is yet another example of the Governor's strong focus on rebuilding the Upstate economy and his vision for moving the Finger Lakes region forward.”

“We are thrilled to take this leap forward in a project that will restore energy and economic development to one of our region’s most celebrated buildings,” said Gilbert Winn, Chief Executive Officer at WinnCompanies. “With Class A office space and enviable luxury apartments, the new Sibley Building will be transformed into an innovative center for office, retail, and housing while maintaining its historic character.”

As the building undergoes this significant transformation, so too has its name. The new Sibley Square name focuses on the square atrium around Sibley’s iconic clock where people have been gathering for more than 100 years.  The square will be home to boutique retail and local artisan food products, creating a dynamic urban marketplace.  The name and logo will be changed on all the signage in the coming weeks.

“Sibley Square will reinvigorate our urban core by transforming the historic Sibley Building into a thriving center for business, retail and living,” said Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman.  “The FLREDC chose to support this project because it boosts the quality of life of our residents and will spur additional investments in Rochester.”

Construction on the top floor of the building, once home to the Tea Room of the Sibley Department Store, is already underway. Once completed, the floor will become the headquarters for High Tech Rochester’s Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative, an incubator for high-tech start-up companies that is expected to generate more than 1,000 new jobs within its first five years of operation. New York State previously supported the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative with a $10 million grant. 

This next phase of Sibley’s redevelopment is supported by the state through a $3.5 million grant from Empire State Development; $3 million from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through its Cleaner, Greener Communities program for energy efficiency upgrades; and $10 million from New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) for affordable housing tax credits to be used to create 72 units of mixed-income senior housing and amenities.   This leads to more than $27 million to date in state incentives for projects at the Sibley Building. 

“The redevelopment of the iconic Sibley Building will transform this once nearly vacant building in Rochester into a multi-use dynamic destination that will attract residents and investment,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky

“The Sibley Building is a beautiful piece of Rochester’s history, located in the center of the city within walking distance to entertainment, culture, and conveniences,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James S. Rubin.  “One of the best ways to increase quality of life in communities is to bring historic structures like this back to use as high quality homes. Residents and the entire community will continue to enjoy the Sibley Building and all that it will offer for decades to come.”

“This project is a great step forward in downtown Rochester’s transformation, and will lead to new jobs and opportunities across the region,” said NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, communities across the State are incorporating sustainability and good energy solutions into their projects, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, and boosting jobs and investment.”

Now available for leasing is 75,000 square feet of retail space and 400,000 square feet of office space in the iconic building. Interested retail and office tenants can now contact John Rogers at Pyramid Brokerage, 585-248-9426. Those interested in living in the newly created modern luxury rental units should contact the Sibley Leasing office at WinnResidential at 585-546-1711 to be placed on the waiting list. 

“The incredible transformation taking place at the Sibley Building serves as further evidence of the many positive changes taking place throughout Rochester’s urban core and represents a renewed sense of optimism that is driving our region’s economy forward,” Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle.

“This is a historic day for downtown Rochester and the iconic Sibley building. I, like so many Rochesterians, have many fond memories of coming to Sibley with my family to shop at the holidays,” said Senator Joe Robach.  “This modern transformation will help usher in a new era for Sibley, once again making it an attraction for shoppers and families of our community, and will play a critical role in the revitalization of downtown Rochester.”

“The Sibley Building restoration project is an important step forward in downtown development," said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. "Upon completion, the benefits of the Sibley Building's new apartments, senior living amenities, and office and retail space will not only be felt in City of Rochester, but throughout our entire community. We thank WinnDevelopment and our government partners for investing in Monroe County.”

“Today’s groundbreaking at the Sibley Building confirms that Rochester’s legacy of innovation continues to thrive,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “The revitalization of Downtown plays a key role in our efforts to create safer more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities throughout the city. On behalf of the citizens of Rochester, we are thankful for the support of Governor Cuomo and his commitment to Rochester and grateful to our partners at WinnDevelopment for their commitment to transforming the iconic Sibley Building into a modern hub for housing, retail and innovation—and for helping to create hundreds of jobs along the way.”

About Sibley Square
WinnDevelopment is reshaping Downtown Rochester with a multi-year project to transform Sibley Square into a vibrant, mixed-use urban center, featuring the best apartment homes in Rochester, Class-A office space, green living, elegant landscaping, premier security systems and centralized transportation. From it's opening in 1868 as the city's first department store to its role in the downtown's current renaissance, Sibley Square at the intersection of East Avenue and East Main Street has long been an iconic landmark, earning its spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Learn more at

About WinnCompanies
WinnCompanies is an award-winning national multifamily development and management company dedicated to the highest standards of excellence. Through its companies, WinnDevelopment, WinnResidential and WinnMilitary, WinnCompanies acquires, develops and manages mixed-income, market rate, affordable, military and mixed use properties. Of special focus is on nationally recognized historic adaptive re-use developments in urban centers. Founded in 1971 and operating in 22 states and the District of Columbia, Winn is the fifth largest multi-family housing manager and the largest manager of affordable and military housing in the United States.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.