Rochester, N.Y. – The new owners of the Sibley plan a full court press to get Monroe Community College to keep its downtown campus at the landmark building.
Sibley hasn’t seen much investment in two decades. The new owners, Winn Development out of Boston, pointed to a stairwell used by MCC students. It’s got peeling paint and worn floors. While students are on winter break, the floors will be replaced and walls painted. There will be murals, as well.
Sibley plans other immediate improvements, totaling several million dollars, including repairs to the escalators and a new security system. An RPD substation will open in July. By the summer, the lobby will be renovated. A giant walled-off portion of the lobby will be included and opened to the public. There will be a dedicated MCC entrance. The streetscape will also be improved.
Eventually, Winn hopes to have ground-floor retail and offices and housing on the upper floors. The entire project could cost $150 million over 10 years.
MCC plans to move the Kodak campus on State St. But it still has a five-year lease at Sibley and has not secured the necessary support for the move among area politicians. County lawmakers recently approved borrowing money for a new downtown campus, but did not specify where it would be located.
“It’s very clear the Winn corporation is investing resources in this building. And we haven’t seen much of that lately,” said Peter Otero, dean of the downtown campus.
Enough to get MCC to stay?
“I can’t answer that question I think we know what we’re focused on,” Otero said. “We want to own. We want green space. We want dedicated parking and we’re very focused on those things to make sure we take care of the needs of our students.”
Sibley’s owners believe they can meet those needs. A rooftop garden can meet needs for green space, for example. Otero was thinking more along the lines of Frontier Field and Sahlen’s Stadium.
“We’re trying to be the best landlords we can be and give them the best choice they can have and we fervently hope they choose to stay,” said Scott Gonyea, Sibley’s property manager.
Sibley’s owners believe they can dramatically improve and expand MCC’s space far under the $72 million cost of moving the campus to Kodak. The Sibley revitalization will proceed with or without MCC, but the new owners would like their main tenant to stay.
The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved tax incentives for the redevelopment of Sibley on Tuesday.