Rochester, N.Y. – The windows on the Sibley Building hadn’t been washed in nine years. It cost the new owners $35,000 to get them done a couple weeks ago.
Winn Development isn’t phased by Sibley’s massive size. The historic property is a million square feet, downtown’s largest building.
“Because of the 20 elevators, because of the four different main entrances, you can actually do multiple uses in an elegant way,” said Gilbert Winn. “There’s a lot of potential here.”
Winn plans to invest up to $150 million over the next 10 years in Sibley. In the tower, plans call for offices on the lower floors and 200 market rate and affordable apartments on the upper floors. There are opportunities for ground floor retail. Winn would like to see some higher-end retail and a restaurant. Rochester police are installing a substation on the back side of the building, which will be near the new bus station.
Apartments should be ready in a few years. In the short term, Winn is making landscaping and signage improvements, as well as repairs to elevators and escalators. The city removed the portable toilets outside one of the entrances at Winn's request.
“I want to be a focal point like it once was of the downtown,” Winn said. “This is really the starting off point, the jumping off point for gentrification downtown.”
Winn is encouraged by the Midtown development. “It’s our responsibility to take care of this side of the street and we believe across the street with everything that’s happening at Midtown, we’ll once again create this Main Street stretch as the place to be.”
The clocks on the iconic bell tower will be repaired; two of the faces are not working. There’s talk of ringing the bell to mark the revitalization.
As for the clock in the atrium, that will remain, so future generations can “meet under the clock.”