August 27, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $30.3 Million Affordable Housing Development in Rochester

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $30.3 Million Affordable Housing Development in Rochester

Redevelopment of "Sibley Square" Contains 280 Mixed-Income Apartments, Retail, Office, and Commercial Space

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of a $30.3 million affordable housing development in downtown Rochester. The Liberty Lofts project, part of the Sibley Square redevelopment, consists of 104 affordable and workforce apartments. The larger redevelopment includes an additional 176 affordable and market rate apartments, plus retail, office and commercial spaces. WinnDevelopment, the development arm of the building's primary owner, WinnCompanies, is the developer for Sibley Square.

"The transformation of the historic Sibley Building serves as an anchor for downtown Rochester's renaissance and mirrors neighborhood's rebirth as well," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in affordable housing, we are strengthening families and our communities in the Finger Lakes and beyond."

"We are committed to continuing to invest in our communities to help ensure growth and improve quality of life for all New Yorkers, and that includes creating and preserving affordable housing opportunities," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Completion of the Liberty Lofts in the historic Sibley Building in Downtown Rochester is another sign of this commitment and that New York's better days are ahead. We are leading the way forward for a post-pandemic world by building back better, stronger and more inclusive than ever before."

The Sibley Building, located at 250 East Main Street, opened in 1906 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction on the building's $110 million redevelopment began in 2012. Located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the 12-story tower, Liberty Lofts provides a mix of 104 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Fifty-three of the apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income and the remaining apartments will be affordable to households earning up to 110 percent of the Area Median Income.

Amenities include a fitness area, children's playroom, business center, community room and laundry facilities. Residents will have access to a first-floor food marketplace, retail spaces and discounted parking at the St. Joseph's municipal parking lot attached to the building by a skybridge. The building also includes a bank branch and police station on the ground floor.

The renovation was designed to meet Enterprise Green Communities standards for existing buildings. Energy-efficient features include the installation of low-VOC products including sealants, paints and flooring; low-flow Water Sense labelled plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and ASHRAE Standards 62.1 level ventilation.

Governor Cuomo's commitment to strengthening communities and growing the Finger Lakes economy is reflected in "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State's investment in Liberty Lofts complements the Finger Lakes Forward initiative by creating affordable housing opportunities in downtown areas with access to jobs and services.

Liberty Lofts follows two earlier residential development phases, including Landmark at Sibley Square, which created 72 affordable homes for adults 55 and over. The building also includes 104 market-rate apartments. In addition to the residential components, Sibley Square is now home to several companies including business incubator NextCorps, which operates the Luminate NY competition, and construction is underway on The Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator, a food business incubator and shared kitchen facility. Both projects received grant funding from Empire State Development.

Liberty Lofts is supported by both New York State's Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). HCR provided $5.9 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $4.6 million in equity and $13.4 million in subsidy. OPRHP allocated federal and state historic tax credits that generated $4.6 million in equity. The City of Rochester provided $1.2 million in Restore NY funds and an additional $310,000.

Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $627 million to create or preserve nearly 7,500 affordable homes and apartments in the Finger Lakes, including more than $278 million in the city of Rochester to create or preserve 2,900 homes.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "As Rochester's economy expands, so does the need for modern affordable housing. With Liberty Lofts at Sibley Square, we have added 104 apartments for families to this historic and dynamic mixed-use building right in the heart of downtown. In these times of economic hardship for so many New Yorkers, high-quality apartments near new employment opportunities is a winning strategy for building back stronger and moving the Finger Lakes - and all of New York - forward."

Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "The completion of the Liberty Lofts is an exciting new phase for the transformative Sibley Square redevelopment, which stands as upstate New York's largest investment to utilize the Historic Tax Credit programs. Historic Tax Credits have been essential tools for the sustainable redevelopment of vacant and underutilized historic buildings in our state. We extend our congratulations to the team at WinnCompanies and thank them for their commitment to adaptive reuse."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "The redevelopment of this local landmark continues to catalyze the economic transformation of both Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. Building affordable residential units at Sibley Square not only provides much-needed housing for the area, but it ensures the city has a thriving population to support and access all that Rochester's revitalized downtown has to offer."

Senator Joseph Robach said, "I am glad to see this worthwhile community enhancing project come to completion. Liberty Lofts will certainly go a long way to grow Rochester's downtown footprint in a positive way."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "Our entire community benefits when individuals and families across all income levels have access to quality housing they can afford. I commend WinnDevelopment for their ambitious reimagining of the historic Sibley Square as an exciting mixed-use, mixed-income anchor for Downtown Rochester that provides housing for people across a spectrum of ages and income levels. I am grateful for the support given to Liberty Lofts by New York State and thank all the community and government partners who worked so hard to make today's grand opening possible."

Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "The Liberty Lofts at Sibley Square represent the continued transformation of Downtown Rochester and the entire city. I want to congratulate and thank the WinnCompanies for completing this project and giving new life to one of Rochester's most iconic buildings. I am also grateful to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Homes and Community Renewal for supporting this project and so many other projects that help advance our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities."

WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert J. Winn said, "Liberty Lofts is an important milestone in the redevelopment of Sibley Square, fulfilling our vision of delivering modern apartments and amenities to renters of every income level in the heart of downtown. This is the largest mixed-use project in WinnDevelopment's history. We are grateful to the many state, county and local leaders for their partnership, innovation and perseverance, working together to bring this unique mixed-income community to life for Rochester residents."

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.


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