by Jeremy Moule
[UPDATE 11:55 p.m.] Winn Companies just e-mailed over the proposal it submitted to MCC. The document is attached at the end of the blog.
Original post: Legislation authorizing county officials to buy space for a new Monroe Community College downtown is headed to the full County Legislature for a vote. The Lej meets on February 12.
County Executive Maggie Brooks submitted the legislation earlier this week, and last night the Ways and Means Committee passed the legislation 9 to 1, with Democrat Carrie Andrews opposed. The county and the college administrations want to buy several buildings and part of a parking lot on Kodak's State Street site. The agreed purchase price is $2.999 million.
At the beginning of last night's committee meeting, developer Gilbert Winn made a last-minute pitch to keep the Damon City Campus in the Sibley building; Winn Development purchased the building last year. Speaking during the public forum, Winn said he could upgrade 275,000 square feet of the Sibley building for $57 million, which is $18 million less than MCC budgeted. He said his proposal also gives MCC more parking spaces than the Kodak site.
Winn wants the Legislature to table the measure so MCC can examine his proposal, but that doesn't seem likely.
Democratic Legislator Josh Bauroth asked whether anyone from MCC had reviewed Winn's proposal. In response, college President Anne Kress said officials had only received the proposal at 4:30 p.m. the same night and that at least one aspect gave her pause. The Winn plan lists an acquisition price of $7.6 million, and SUNY may not look favorably on that proposal, she said, since the college is able to get more space at a lower price from Kodak.
The SUNY board has to approve the purchase of the property. Yesterday, MCC received a letter (see below) from SUNY saying that it believes the purchase of the Kodak property is reasonable at this time.
The county, which holds the college's property in trust, plans to purchase 547,000 square feet of building space from Kodak. The state will reimburse the college for half of the costs of acquiring and renovating space used for educational purposes.
Democrat Andrews, explaining her vote against the Kodak purchase, expressed concern about the certainty of state funding, and said she wanted more time for MCC to review Winn's proposal. Republicans Dick Yolevich, Rick Antelli, Anthony Daniele, Carmen Gumina, Ciaran Hanna, and Steve Tucciarello voted for the legislation, as did Democrats Cynthia Kaleh and Bauroth, though Bauroth paused before casting his vote.
SUNY letter by