Rochester Mayor Tom Richards announced today that the sale of the Sibley building to a Winn Development company is practically imminent. Richards is submitting legislation to City Council "that would allow for the sale and transfer of ownership" of the building for educational, residential, office, and retail use, says a city press release.
The sale price is $5 million. Not included in the deal is the nearly $20 million in outstanding debt owed by the building's current owner, Rochwil Associates. The Winn company will take responsibility for a $3.1 million loan the city made to Rochwil, however. The $20 million debt will stay with Rochwil, but the city does not expect payment, Richards says.
Richards has repeatedly rebuffed calls from some in the community to aggressively pursue the $20 million. The most important thing, he has said, is to sell Sibley and get the building "back into productive use."
"It's time we break with what was and move on to what will be," Richards says. "The redevelopment and use of the Sibley building is vital to our ongoing downtown revitalization efforts."
A Winn representative told City last month that the historic Sibley building would be converted to mixed use with retail on the first and second floors, office space on floors three to six, and housing on floors seven to 12 -- the Sibley Tower.
An application will be made to COMIDA for a 20-year tax-abatement agreement for the Winn company, the press release says. It says the agreement will set a baseline tax payment that would increase as the Sibley building is redeveloped and leased.