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November 20, 2012

Boston-Based Sibley Acquires 2 MSF Historic Rochester M-U Property

By Keith Loria, Contributing Writer

Sibley Redevelopment Limited Partnership, an affiliate of WinnDevelopment, the real estate development arm of WinnCompanies, acquired the Sibley Building, located in the central business district of downtown Rochester, N.Y.

Rochwil Associates L.P., a subsidiary of Wilmorite Properties Inc., sold the 1,085,000-square-foot, 12-story commercial building. Rochester attorney Gerard DiMarco partnered with WinnDevelopment on the purchase.

“The Sibley Building is a large historic building in a key downtown location, and ideally laid out for a mixed-use urban revitalization,” Gilbert Winn, WinnDevelopment’s managing principal, told Commercial Property Executive. “The company’s core strategy is purchasing underutilized historic properties and adding value by restoring them as residential and mixed-use projects, which contribute to the revitalization of urban core neighborhoods.”

Located at 228 Main St., the building was originally built as the six-story Sibley Department store in the early 1900s and grew an additional six stories to include an office tower in 1924 to accommodate the growing demand for office space in downtown Rochester.

Today, Sibley features eight separate entrances and 22 elevators, with connections to two adjacent parking garages via sky bridges. The building consists of approximately 860,000 of rentable square feet with floor plates ranging from 42,000 to 112,000 square feet, allowing for a diverse group of tenants. It is approximately 30 percent leased.

Monroe Community College currently occupies the fourth and fifth floors under a five-year lease extension.

The Boston-based WinnDevelopment is already working on changes to Sibley, adding a new state of the art security system and spending $3.75 million on repairs and improvements initially, with plans to put in another $100 to $150 million in the next decade to completely renovate the building.

“Over a 10-year period, the building will undergo a complete renovation so that Sibley will have its own community of new retail, office and residential tenants,” Winn said. “We will create a leasing proposition that combines a 100 percent downtown location, an immaculately restored historic property with a completely modern infrastructure, and competitive rents.”

Among the improvements will be repairs to the HVAC system, new lobbies, new escalators, new signs, new entryway improvements, a new Rochester Police Department Substation, and new tenants.

Plans call for 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 seventh through ninth floors.

“The Sibley Building is the heart of downtown Rochester, and has been for over100 years,” Winn added. “It is adjacent to the best office buildings and hotels in Rochester, near cultural and civic institutions such as the Eastman Theater and Rochester Convention Center, adjacent to the dynamic East Avenue restaurant and entertainment neighborhood, and at the hub of public transportation.”

Financing for the acquisition and renovation of the Sibley Building was provided by Genesee Regional Bank.