Gov. Cuomo Announces Completion of $28 Million Affordable Housing in Downtown Rochester


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of Landmark at Sibley Square, a $28 million investment to renovate the historic Sibley department store into 72 affordable housing units for people 55 and over in downtown Rochester.

The new state-of-the-art apartments, which also feature a fitness center, game room, lounge, kitchen, and laundry, are part of the overall transformation of the Sibley building, including apartments for families at various income levels, as well as commercial space available for businesses in downtown Rochester.

"The continued revitalization of the Sibley building will breathe new life into downtown Rochester and provide much-needed affordable housing for New Yorkers 55 and older who want to take advantage of all that downtown living has to offer," Governor Cuomo said. "As Rochester continues to flourish, we will keep moving the Finger Lakes Forward by creating jobs, providing a better quality of life, and driving economic growth for the entire region."

"Throughout my time as Lieutenant Governor, I have seen the ongoing transformation of the Sibley Building, and today marks another incredible milestone in the history of this magnificent structure," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "As we celebrate continued economic progress, Sibley Square will once again be the epicenter of activity in downtown Rochester. With dozens of new affordable housing options for seniors, we are ensuring that everyone can be a part of the revitalization of Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region. The Sibley Building is more than just the brick and mortar. Its restoration is a symbol of renewed hope in the city and across the region."

Residents will also have access to Lifespan's Senior Center, the Rochester Childfirst Network childcare center, Eastman Dental, an urban market, and all other retail located within Sibley Square, including Citizens Bank.

The Sibley Building opened in 1868 as Rochester's first department store and was once the largest department store between New York City and Chicago
Generations of Rochester residents and visitors have fond memories of the store's holiday window displays which attracted crowds to this center city location

The store closed in 1989. Earlier this month, The Preservation League of New York State selected Sibley Square to receive an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

The design and construction of the project follows NYS Homes and Community Renewal's guidelines for the "Green Building and Energy Efficiency Building Initiative" and complies with the 2011 Enterprise Green Communities Certification Overlay.

The 72-unit affordable housing component is also Enterprise Green Communities certified. All appliances and lighting throughout the building are ENERGY STAR labeled and to the extent possible, the guiding principles and requirements of LEED Core & Shell were also applied to tenant spaces.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided almost $8 million in financing for Landmark at Sibley Square in the form of a loan from HCR's Housing Trust Fund Program.

HCR's Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocation will generate almost $11.5 million in equity for the project, and an allocation of New York State Historic Tax Credits will generate more than $4.1 million in equity. Other financing sources include $2 million from the City of Rochester, and $1.8 million from the Community Preservation Corporation.

With the Landmark phase of the Sibley building's transformation complete, work continues the Spectra phase of the renovations, including commercial space and more than 100 mixed-income apartments for families and individuals.

These projects join the recently completed NextCorps facility, which occupies the sixth floor of the Sibley Building and supports high-tech companies that are integral to Rochester's revitalization.

Since 2011, Homes and Community Renewal has built and preserved more than 2,000 affordable homes in the City of Rochester and more than 3,500 affordable homes in Monroe County.

Landmark at Sibley is part of the Governor's five-year, $20 billion plan to create or preserve more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services.

Assemblyman David F. Gantt said, "This is a 'Landmark' day for the City of Rochester. I have been a supporter of affordable housing my entire career and I applaud Governor Cuomo's commitment to provide needed affordable housing that continues our downtown revitalization efforts. It is the result of a true public and private sector partnership and the positive effects will spread from Rochester through the Finger Lakes region."

Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "Providing affordable apartments in the Center City for active older adults will bring new energy to our Downtown. We know that a vibrant Downtown is a mixed Downtown. We want to see different people, different ages, different choices in housing, employment, restaurants and retail. Downtown now has something for everyone, whether they're here to live, work or play."

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 $5.2 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.

Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

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 incentive private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs
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