01.07.14

SCHUMER LAUNCHES PLAN TO HELP REDEVELOP THE SIBLEY BUILDING, A HISTORIC LANDMARK IN DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER PUSHES TO SECURE $45 MILLION IN NEW MARKETS TAX CREDITS TO BRING NEW LIFE TO HISTORIC BUILDING, REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN ECONOMY CREATE JOBS

brSibley Building Currently Planning $190 Million Redevelopment, But Requires NMTC Funds to Move Forward Schumer Pushes Feds to Award Funding to City of Rochester Economic Development Corporation on Behalf of SibleybrbrIn Last Years Fiscal Cliff Deal, Schumer Secured Extension Funding of NMTC Paving the Way for Rochester to Apply for Sibley Building Schumer Highlights the Proven Track Record of Sibley-owner Winn Using NMTC to Transform Similar BuildingbrbrSchumer: Revitalizing Historic Rochest

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his push to secure $45 million in federal New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) needed to make the $190 million redevelopment of the historic Sibley Building in Rochester a reality.  With its large footprint that spans longer than a football field in downtown Rochester, Schumer said the Sibley building could be an anchor of economic development in the east end of downtown, but, now, it is only 30% occupied.  Therefore, Schumer wrote Treasury Secretary Lew to push for federal funds to support its successful redevelopment as a mixeduse building with new housing, commercial, and retail space, which has long been seen by local leaders and developers as an essential part of revitalizing Rochester's downtown.   

Senator Schumer helped secure funding in last year's "fiscal cliff" deal to extend the NMTC program for two years.  Now that the program is funded, he is pushing to support an application submitted by the City of Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) to secure $45 million in NMTC on behalf of the Sibley project.  The Community Development Financial Institutions within the Treasury Department, which oversees the NTMC program, expects to award up to $8.5 billion in NMTC allocations by spring 2014.

"The Sibley Building is one of many downtown Rochester historic sites prime for redevelopment.  These New Markets Tax Credits provide the key to turn the Sibley Building into a modern, attractive space for investment, and unlock economic revitalization in downtown," said Schumer. "Sibley has all the parts in place to be a successful turnaround story: it has the necessary space and the right location to be a hub for downtown housing and commercial real estate. We just need the capital to get the project moving and I am urging the Treasury Department to take a long look at REDCO's application for New Markets Tax Credits."

The $45 million NMTC allocation would enable the new Sibley Building owner, Winn Development, to move forward with its redevelopment plans, which include the development of six floors for 106 units of market rate housing, 50,000 square feet of class A office space, 10,000 sq. ft. of retail, 10 retail pushcarts, 2,000 sq. ft. of green roof terrace, an urban farmers market, 111 underground parking spaces and development of remaining unclaimed space for additional office and retail use.  Separately, the project is seeking state affordable housing tax credits to redevelop three floors of the building for 91 units of affordable senior housing.  The 12story Sibley building boasts over 1 million sq. ft. of space on a 3.27 acres site in the heart of downtown Rochester.  Schumer explained that the massive space and key downtown location would mean that successful redevelopment of the Sibley Building would provide a huge shot in the arm to Rochester's economy by attracting new businesses and residents to downtown.

Since acquiring the building in 2012, Winn has begun investments to upgrade the building's façade, security, and internal mechanical infrastructure.  Schumer noted that Winn has a proven record of success, particularly in redeveloping largescale historic sites like the Sibley Building and, notably, with the efficient use of New Markets Tax Credits.  Winn successfully won $30 million in NMTC for its redevelopment of the Boott Mills complex in Lowell, Massachusetts turning what was one of the oldest surviving cotton textile mill yards in the United States into 80 units of new housing and 80,000 sq. ft. of office space that helped provide an economic engine for that city's rebirth.  Schumer envisions the Sibley Building as a similar potential engine of economic activity for the City of Rochester.

Schumer has long been a champion of the NMTC program.  The program was established in 2000 with the goal of spurring economic development in lowincome communities through the use of tax credits, and Schumer successfully fought to extend the New Markets Tax Credit program in the 2012 yearend fiscal cliff deal, to help leverage private investment and jumpstart construction efforts in communities like Rochester. The Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI) within the U.S. Treasury Department accepts applications annually for the NMTC program. Through the NMTC, Community Development Entities (CDE) such as REDCO or financial institutions like banks apply to the CDFI to receive a tax credit allocation and, if awarded an allocation, then serve as intermediaries to accept and distribute tax credit allocations. In exchange for investing in qualifying projects, individual investors and corporations can receive a tax credit on their federal income tax return, creating an incentive for individuals to invest. By selling tax credits, the CDE can raise large amounts of equity for identified economic development projects such as the redevelopment of the Sibley building.

A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to Treasury Secretary Lew appears below:

Dear Secretary Lew,

I write to offer my strong support for an application submitted by the Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) in partnership with Winn Development for a $45 million allocation of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to provide capital for the redevelopment of the historic Sibley Building.   With its large footprint that spans over 3 acres and large floor plates totaling 1 million sq ft, the 12story Sibley building is a major presence in the east end of downtown Rochester. Like many similarly situated cities, Rochester is working to overcome the disinvestment and population loss since the 1990's, which has been a contributing factor to the Sibley Building being 30% vacant today. Its successful redevelopment as a mixeduse project with new housing, commercial, and retail space has long been seen by local leaders and developers as a fundamental to the revitalization of Rochester's downtown. With several other large scale redevelopment projects underway at adjacent sites and a wealth of private investment now targeting the center city, the Sibley redevelopment project is poised to cement a bright and bustling future for downtown Rochester.

The proposed Sibley redevelopment is uniquely suited to the NMTC program goal to spur new private sector investment for transformative real estate projects in economically distressed areas and neighborhoods.  Specifically under this proposal the $45 million NMTC allocation will leverage approximately $140 million in private investment toward a project that will include over $190 million in new upgrades and redevelopment to the Sibley building.  The NMTC allocation is pivotal in advancing this project which will create 106 units of market rate housing across six floors, 50,000 sq ft of class A office space, 10,000 sq ft of retail, 10 retail pushcarts, a 2,000 sq ft green roof terrace, an urban farmers market, 111 underground parking spaces and development of remaining unclaimed space for additional office and retail use.  Initial predevelopment activities are already underway including building exterior work, mechanicals upgrades and entrance renovations.  However, with the NMTC allocation secured, the project would be able to commence in earnest in 2014 starting with the construction of the new 106 housing units. 

The redevelopment of the historic Sibley building into a vibrant urban center and home to new residents, shops, and offices, is vital to the  successful redevelopment of Rochester's downtown.  Therefore, I appreciate your strong consideration of this application and the incredible potential that this project holds for both downtown and the City as a whole.

Sincerely,

Charles E Schumer

U.S. Senator



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