Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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What Lies Ahead for Downtown's Sibley Building

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Rochester: What Lies Ahead for Downtown's Sibley Building
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With Monroe Community College now poised to move its downtown campus out of the Sibley Building and across town to Kodak, the question remains what Sibley's current owners will do with a building that will be nearly empty in three years.

It's all but a done deal now, pending full funding from the state and SUNY college system. MCC on Tuesday received final approval from Monroe County to move out of the hulking Sibley building in just a few years.

So what does that mean for the future of the Sibley building, and downtown?

Mayor Tom Richards has guaranteed since last summer that new owner Winn Development would be the company to bring this once grand structure back to prosperity, but now, it appears that plan for success won't include MCC, so Winn has outlined an alternative plan to success.

A big part of that plan will be the Rochester Police Department. Officials with Winn confirmed to us Wednesday: the Police Department is planning on building a new substation inside Sibley.

"We're hoping to break ground by April, and have up to 50 police officers in there by July 1st," said Joseph Eddy, Winn Development. "It's something that's been in the works for a while. I think that everyone in Rochester wants downtown to be the safest place in Rochester, and I think that's what we're going to have."

In a statement Wednesday morning, Winn Managing Principal Gilbert Winn said:

"We are moving forward with a number of exciting improvements for the community this year, including a new Rochester Police station; a new, dedicated office lobby; new escalators; retail lobby and streetscape improvements; and pre-development of the first housing phase in the tower."
Across the street, Midtown Plaza has been under continuous reconstruction since 2010, with no sure bet for the future of that site, either.

So Sibley and Winn Development are definitely being counted on by the mayor to help revitalize a struggling downtown. It will just take some time before we know the true measure of success.

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