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Skepticism on Sibley deal

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Some City Council members are concerned that the proposal to sell the Sibley building to an entity to be formed by Winn Development might be too similar to the deal that has trapped the building and the city in limbo for years. | Mayor Tom Richards has announced an agreement to sell the Sibley building for $5 million to the company for retail, offices, and housing. | But at a meeting last week, Council members — who must sign off on the deal — said the proposal is overly complex and seems to give too much discretion to the mayor. The deal would allow the mayor to adjust the interest rate and "other terms and conditions" of an outstanding $3.1-million loan that Winn has agreed to take responsibility for. | That the building would be sold to a company formed by Winn — and not Winn itself — raised warning signs for some Council members. | The building is currently owned by Rochwil Associates, a limited liability corporation that owes the city more than $20 million, but has no resources to pay that debt, Richards says. | Council members said they want to make sure the city isn't walking into a similar situation if the Winn entity can't make a go of the building.

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