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Sibley Building Rendering Monroe Community College is on the verge of purchasing twice as much space as it needs.

The county legislature will vote in a couple weeks on spending several million dollars to buy 561,951 square feet on Kodak’s State St. campus. MCC has admitted it needs only 275,000 square feet. The left over space equals two Pittsford Wegmans. MCC says it could develop the space at a later date, but financing isn’t a sure thing and the college will have to pay maintenance costs in the meantime. The first phase of the project alone will cost $72 million.

What’s more, MCC is also purchasing Kodak’s power facility at the State St. site. MCC hasn’t decided if it will sell back the power to Kodak or connect to the downtown power district. MCC would become a “lightly regulated utility,” according to a SUNY memo to the college. Why is the college getting into the energy business?

Another issue is Kodak may eventually abandon the State St. campus.

Finally, the Kodak site is removed from the core of downtown. It is separated from the bus station under construction, the library, the new RIT building, the Brockport building and the Eastman School of Music. It would be an isolated big box surrounded by a parking lot. Isn’t that what’s out in Brighton?

MCC’s current landlord laid out its case for the college remaining at Sibley in a letter given to legislators. One of the arguments is a Sibley rehab is millions of dollars cheaper.

Whatever you think of Sibley v. Kodak, there appear to be very serious financial implications to this move in the present and future.

Read the Winn letter and the SUNY memo below. (Links of the Day following.)

Links of the Day:

– Lt. Gov. Duffy said it would be a “travesty” if Lovely Warren runs against Tom Richards for mayor.

– Governor Cuomo doesn’t want lawmakers to politicize the casino expansion. This, coming from the man who rakes in cash from the gambling lobby.

– Buffalo’s HSBC building could become luxury apartments, offices and hotel rooms.

– Constellation Brands is in Department of Justice hot water.

– Bausch + Lomb’s CEO said the company is committed to Rochester and is in no hurry to sell its downtown office tower.

– A tradition continues. Kodak film was used for six of the Academy Awards Best Picture nominees.

– The Common Core curriculum doesn’t teach cursive and expects kids to be proficient in typing in fourth grade.

– I will be MC-ing the Friends of Strong Wine Tasting tomorrow (2/1). It’s a great and fun event.

35 Responses to MCC Questions

  1. January 31, 2013 at 4:42 pm DominionROC responds:

    The Damon MCC campus has not been good for students nor has its been good to the downtown business district. Realize that the average Damon MCC student is rather poor with little disposable income. They also balance part time work and studies at MCC. They have never contributed to the vitality of Downtown. Actually, their presence was a detriment to retail…early on there were multiple retail units directed especially to young people…but all of these businesses have left the Sibley complex.

    Also, I think that Damon MCC students should relocate to the superior Main Campus in Brighton. Any location other than this facility means a lesser quality of education. Sure there should be courses taught in Downtown Rochester to address downtown workers…but there should only be one major campus. It would be more cost effective and serve ALL students equally.

    • January 31, 2013 at 9:46 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

      Time and time again moving to Brighton has been proposed, but the Brighton campus, per SUNY standards, already has too many students.

  2. January 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Sibley is on the city and county tax rolls, whereas the Kodak site buildings would go off those tax rolls if MCC purchases them. There may also be racial segregation between the Brighton campus and the Damon Campus as well. Also, the parking lot between Morrie Silver Way, State Street, Plymouth Avenue, and the railroad tracks would have made an ideal site for an intermodal RTS bus, intercity bus, and Amtrak station, as well as the possibility of public rail transit lines there on the CSX/Amtrak line and another one running from there to Brockport on the old NYC Falls RR which currently dead ends at Sahlen’s Stadium.

    • January 31, 2013 at 9:48 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

      Sibley would be off tax rolls if MCC purchased it as well.
      The downtown campus has a fair mix of students. Yes, their focus is n those that live nearby, but there still is a good mix.

  3. DominionROC, There is not enough room at Brighton for all the students. People don’t seem to get that. Also, as an alumni of both MCC campuses, I disagree that the education is inferior at Damon. Infact, most of my favorite professors were downtown.

    Winn’s plans are awesome. Public Relations at MCC made sure that they found students to testify on behalf of the Kodak site. Most students, in my personal experience, do not feel unsafe at Sibley’s.

    Also I would LOVE to see the surface lot south of Kodak to be developed or at least turned into green space in the mean time. MCC’s move would prohibit that possibility. Take advantage of the parking STRUCTURES downtown.

  4. January 31, 2013 at 6:58 pm L.William Marshall responds:

    If winn was so interested in save the tax payers all this money why is it they couldn’t submit this before the eleventh hour . perhaps like last year when they purchased the property. If i remember correctly they informed M.C.C. that their rent would be a much high amount then what they were presently paying. them I believe that the students were also saying the the security was not the best for that building. So witch is the better deal a building that gives them room to expand if needed,or a renovated area that may or may not be what they need.

    • January 31, 2013 at 7:23 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Winn denied MCC’s rent allegation.

      The safety issues will likely to away once police open a substation in the building and the bus station opens.

      And Winn has been saying this all along…..

  5. I need to comment on Lt Gov Duffy’s response to the potential mayoral race. He believes they are both qualified. He supports Tom Richard’s now, but will give the same support to Lovely Warren when it’s her turn. Boy, it’s amazing to me how Bob Duffy has completely forgot about the will of the people and is so blatantly now believes the party will decide who’s turn it is to be mayor. If Duffy believed in democracy, he would have stated that both are qualified and let the people decide. The more choices, the better. It’s sad to see what he has become. Just my thoughts.

  6. January 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm Goodgov responds:

    Do Anne Kress or any of the MCC board live in the city? Do they even like cities? I ask this because the Kodak plan seems to be a costly attempt to replicate suburban experience. A giant stand alone building surrounded by parking lots that isn’t even in downtown is their idea of a “downtown MCC”? Kress and the board’s approach seems to be an attempt to mitigate the urban experience rather than embrace it. Serious and vibrant academic institutions seek to enhance, and be enhanced by their environments, not hide from them. The kodak site!? Give me a break. They might as well build a moat. And as for safety, I would think that statistical reality, rather than anecdote would guide the decision making of those who lead an institute of higher learning. There is a word for those who eschew statistical realities for anecdote ( “its snowing today-global warming is a hoax”, “i don’t care what the poles say, Romney has momentum!”). The word is moron.

  7. January 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

    I mean no disrespect, but I’m wondering how it is that when Winn originally proposed the Sibley building, their bid was $10 million mor, but no, at the last minute, it is so much lower?

    Also, as far as space, some programs will be moving from the Brighton campus and there are unofficial plans for other groups to expand.

    Finally, as far as the utility, MCC already has a Co-Ge plant. In the grand scheme, it sounds like they are just going to sell some o the excess utilities. Is that really that bad?

  8. January 31, 2013 at 10:05 pm Just a Tax Payer responds:

    $18MM LESS AT SIBLEY. $18MM LESS AT SIBLEY. $18MM LESS AT SIBLEY. Kodak will be a bottomless pit for County tax payers. Maybe a grown up (Governor?) should step in and tell Anne Kress to resign. This is irresponsible.

    • January 31, 2013 at 10:57 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

      There’s a huge difference in the way the two sites have been maintained over the years. The Kodak site is spotless. Sibley has been falling apart like crazy. I’d like to know how they plan on going from $10 million over to $18 million less without some serious drops in what MCC would be getting.

  9. January 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm RaChaCha responds:

    On the plus side of the ledger, the MCC move to Kodak HQ opens the door to a future consolidation of MCC campuses DT. I’m not suggesting that the MCC board has these designs, but further questioning of board members might elicit whether this thought has been discussed among them — even very informally — or has at least crossed their minds.

    Kodak HQ complex is one of the few places DT that could be big enough to pull off such a consolidation, as well as have parking as well as be in the vicinity of the region’s transit hub. Having multiple community college campuses in a stagnant county of a shrinking, weak-market city may not be any more sustainable in Monroe than it is here in Erie. When community colleges were established, the mission was more about an affordable gateway to higher education and workforce education for the predominantly middle-class families of the day that had easy access to automobiles. In that context, locating on Brighton farmland may have made sense. Now, community college is to a much greater degree about helping disadvantaged students, concentrated in the urban core and substantially transit-dependent, gain access to the middle class.

    So if, in the long-term, the community college makes most sense at a single campus in the urban core, a Kodak HQ move could set the stage for that. Remaining in rented space at Sibley, not so much.

    The opinion expressed in this comment is solely that of the commenter, and not that of this blog, 13WHAM, Mayor Lovely Warren, or the Red-Headed League.

    • January 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm Just a Tax Payer responds:

      I am pretty sure none of the “lucky students” at Brighton would ever stand to be put in the middle of nowhere (Kodak = middle of nowhere). There would be a revolution! Brighton at Kodak, Brighton moves to Kodak! Watch how quickly that gets shot down in this town šŸ™‚

  10. Hmm its tough. Sibleys might be better off without MCC, seems like the Sibley building has better use of that space as housing and retail, maybe a grocery store mixed in. I don’t know if Kodak is a good space for it, that lot surronded by State, Plymouth, and Morrie Silver would be good to be developed into something. Possibly more housing to help liven up that area of town and help High Falls. If MCC moves there it could forever lock that as a parking lot

  11. Typical government action….waste taxpayer money for no good reason. The Sibley proposal provides all that MCC needs, at substantially lower costs.
    So what is the real reason to pursue the Kodak site?

  12. The Sibley site offers little room for expansion. MCC is trying to plan for the future, innovation and growth.

    • Joe I disagree. The plans that Winn proposes offers a lot of room for expansion. I mean the Sibley building has 1 million square feet of floor space. I think they can make room for MCC if they need to expand.

      • February 1, 2013 at 11:07 am Sean A. Flesch responds:

        Not too long ago, they made a proposition for $28 million dollars more than what they are now offering. That offer was for half the space as Kodak.
        Sibley building needs a major overhaul, so you have to question this last minute effort as to what MCC is loosing for that $28 million.

        • February 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm JustaTaxPayer responds:

          Sean, read the proposal Winn submitted. The reason Sibley’s cost $18MM less is becasue they are renovating and modernizing existing campus spaces instead of building from an office building (Kodak). It is a smart plan and sounds like a private market solution not a buearocratic solution that MCC would have come up with! You can do a lot of upgrades for $40million dollars! Don’t wast $18MM of money becasue Anne Kress wants something to put her name on!

  13. I actually am a white person and went to the MCC Damon Campus over the summer! I loved my experiance being in the sibley building. I saw absolutley nothing wrong with the campus. The classes were easy to get to, parking is more convienient than at brighton (you dont have to walk as far and it cost me $10 dollars to park instead of $50-75 at brighton!). I live in Penfield so the city campus is actually closer to my house. I’m not sure why they want to move to the Kodak site.

    • February 1, 2013 at 11:44 am DominionROC responds:

      point of fact…the majority of students do not like the Damon Campus. They would strongly prefer the Main Campus. Just offer fast, quality bus shuttle service from downtown to the main campus. Let ALL students…rich and poor, white, Black and Hispanic the full Quality education services that only exist on the main campus.

      Winn properties…owner of the Sibleys building really only wants to obtain a very lucrative 30 year government guaranteed contract. But…the students should be priority number one….not just filling empty space at Sibleys. Again…MCC does not benefit Downtown…and it doesn’t benefit the students. Then whey spends tens of millions of dollars pursuing a downtown campus?

      • February 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

        I’m not sure where the statistics “many attend both campuses” and the majority don’t like the downtown campus come from. Most folk appear to be happy while there.

        Tat being said, perhaps what was meant for the former comment was most that attend DCC also take classes at Brighton?

  14. Many if not most MCC students attend classes at both campuses.

    MCC MAIN can handled MCC DT with no new building needed.

    MCC DT has mixed races as some courses and programs were moved there, forced to move there, to segregate the campus as it was a highly minority campus before. Therefore for political correctness whites were forced to go to MCC DT and minorities were forced to the main campus.

    Does any one ever consider the 1000s of un-needed trips a day required between the campuses that MCC DT forces? Its not close to being green.

    If you want to save taxpayers money. If you want to assure no segregation or forced busing for 20year olds, ONE campus is the by far the best solution.

    But that concept is never considered in the PC world.

  15. February 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    I was also hoping that Empire State College would move their Rochester campus to downtown instead of to Brighton from their current East Irondequoit location and that Bryant and Stratton College would consolidate their Greece and Henrietta campuses into downtown instead of merely moving their Greece campus and keeping the one in Henrietta, just as they once had one campus downtown. However, neither one of these things will happen, obviously.

  16. February 2, 2013 at 9:40 am DominionROC responds:

    A couple additional points. Parking is a very valuable asset in any downtown. Accommodating visitors/workers to our downtown creates valuable commerce. Placing MCC at the Sibley’s building takes away hundreds of parking space that will be needed to attract commerce to our city center. MCC students are not major consumers that will benefit downtown…they have very, very limited disposable income…they are at MCC just for the academics…thus the nearby Kodak complex makes sense.

    Second…The Sibley’s proposal is only for 275,000 sq. ft. The Kodak complex is over 561,000 sq. ft. and hundreds of free parking spaces. There is easy and flexible space at Kodak to accommodate additional educational institutions or to lease sell additional space to the private sector. THe Kodak sites gives you space…flexibility and much less congestion in the center of Downtown ROchester

    MCC should be moved to the Main Campus…its the most cost effective site and gives all students equal access to a complete/quality campus. But if MCC continues to pursue a city center location…Kodak is the only site that would benefit the students.

    • February 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

      I say again, the Brighton campus is already overcrowded per SUNY standards, Plus, have you driven there during peak times? Where are you going to put another 3 -4,000 students?

      Moving into Kodak actually helps alleviate parking and traffic in Brighton, as some programs will be moved there.

      • February 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm DominionROC responds:

        The mass of the Damon Center students would utilize express shuttle bus service. Actually, more people should be encouraged to use mass transit to the Main MCC campus in Brighton.

        And realize there is still scores of acres of available land at the Brighton Main Campus. And understand that as more people utilize the internet for baseline instruction…the physical facility would become less crowded.

        And finally to my main point…EVERYONE should have access to the Main campus…its saturated with amenities that no downtown campus could ever offer. Why only city students get substandard facilities and the rest get the best?

  17. I believe that Winn has less than $1 million of its own money invested in the Sibley building. The majority of the $5 million or so they purchased it for was a partial assumption of the debt already incurred for the building, and the inability of the local press to figure out exactly what Winn paid out of pocket for the building is distressing. I should also note that “Winn Development” technically DID NOT buy the building: SIBLEY REDEVELOMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP did, and this is a huge and important distinction. SRLP is the same type of tax dodging organization that RochWil is/was and you can bet we’ll be hearing a lot more about this “organization” in the future.


    The wrangling over the “new” MCC site is amusing, of nothing else. Both political parties are going against the grain on this one and proving that power and poltiics are the only things that matter. The Democrats are the party that wants us to have one central school district for the county, but are fine with two separate but unequal community college campuses. Sorry, shifting a few classes from Brighton to Damon to give the appearance of a “multicultural” campus is just window dressing.

    The Republicans like to tell everyone how fiscally responsible they are, but as you can see from Rachel’s story here this is nothing more than the establishment of a new crony kingdom. The possibilities here are endless; a “lightly regulated utility” sounds like a boondoggle waiting to happen. If the Republicans were true stewards of the taxpayer’s limited money, they would be fighting to SHUT DOWN the city campus and consolidate everything to Brighton. As for the space issue there, big cities build multi-story buildings to work around that issue – that could be done here too.

  18. February 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm JustaTaxPayer responds:

    The disposable income thing is a good argument. But also it is a little disrespectful to the students if you mean to imply that they should move to kodak where they will be stuck in an office park and have NO BENIFITS of retail and services. Kodak sucks for students with little money who won’t have cars. It’s a silly location. Sibley is best of both worlds.

  19. Again most DT MCC students also attend some classes at the Main.

    Perhaps some here have not taken higher level math… but closing MCC DT does NOT add 3000 students (or their cars) to the main campus. In fact the net add at any one time is likely under 900, maybe under 500 with night school. On a percentage basis its even less an add.

    For the 70M and 4M a year we will spend on MCC DT a second level parking garage over one parking lot at MCC Main is easily built with lots left over.

    The post on the REPs not being true CONS and opposing MCC DT on financial (tax) terms is exactly correct. They are afraid of the racial backlash, as minorities are for the DT campus to make it “easy’ for like kind to get to.

    And again if you won’t make the effort to get on the free bus DT to ride 20minutes to MCC Main to better yourself…. your not going to make it through college for an AS degree anyway.

    This whole issue has a clear racial under tone to it. And the Greenies are strangely silent.

    No segregation, one campus /school for all, equal teachers, equal opportunity, equal course offerings and minorities oppose one campus because its not in the city but a 20minute free bus ride away? Go figure.

  20. Interesting argument O’Reilly. Why does MCC need to spend more than a few million dollars on their Downtown campus? Why spend $50 Million to fully remodel Sibley or spend $70+ million of taxpayer’s dollars at Kodak to build a new campus? Why not just spend like $5MM or $6MM to fix the EXISTING SIBLEY Campus and not expand it, just fix it? Not enough of a glamour project for these cronies?

    • February 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm Sean A. Flesch responds:

      SUNY has been dropping their funding for rent and has been pushing for colleges to own, so MCC has been planning on purchasing for a few years.
      The cost of purchasing isn’t the huge cost, at least for Kodak, so I must infer for Sibley. The entire campus would basically need to be gutted and rebuilt from scratch. Winn wants to sell MCC the western portion of the building (the part that only goes to 6 floors) so no matter what they do, they would need to renovate big time.
      The HVAC systems, are so old, they are just about being held together with chewing gum. Offices (or classrooms) right next to each other are on the opposite ends of the scale in temperature and there are many places where the systems are so noisy you can’t have a decent conversation.

      I’m curious…did any of you go to the open meetings MCC had?

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