Sibley Square redevelopment progresses

Local News

When you mention “Sibley’s” to people of a certain age, it becomes synonymous with “Christmas”.

For nearly a century, Sibley’s Department Store was the center of life in downtown Rochester. Now, the grand old building is undergoing a dramatic change.

From the sidewalks of Main St. in Rochester, you can see holiday decorations, for the first time in a long time, on display in the window cases.

Frank Freida knew the Sibley Building well as a child, and knows it even better now.

That’s because he’s the Regional Maintenance Manager for Boston-based WinnCompanies, whose real-estate arm, WinnDevelopment, owns the Sibley Building, now called Sibley Square.

Freida’s helped oversee the building’s transformation into a tech-oriented mixed use space. He said while all the historic aspects of the building will be preserved, the entire infrastructure is getting overhauled.

“Sibley’s was state of the art when it was built. Well, the bad news is that equipment is still here and running. So we’re replacing that as we keep moving forward,” said Freida.

The rebranded Sibley Square’s first tenant, High Tech Rochester, is setting up shop in a temporary space while they await their new office space.

“They’ve taken over the 6th floor. That is being vanilla-boxed right now and we’ll have that to them whenever they’re ready to move,” said Freida.

As part of the redevelopment of Sibley Square, Freida said the ground floor will continue to be used for retail purposes, while floors two through six will provide commercial space. The top six floors will house a number of lofts and senior-housing.

“I think once the apartments are done and we start moving everybody in and getting all the people and the movement around the building, you’ll see it rejuvenate this midtown area,” said Freida.

One thing Winn and many locals hope, is the redevelopment will bring people back to the building that was once the center of downtown.

WinnDevelopment got the green light from the feds last year at this time for new market tax credits which helped accelerate Sibley Square’s groundbreaking. Overall the company is investing $200 million into the project. Developers expect tenants will begin to move in late next year.

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