When a landmark department store needed to be rebranded, KHJ had to find a way forward while acknowledging the past.

The Sibley Building was a beloved department store in downtown Rochester. After decades of decline and vacancy, Winn Development brought the once thriving landmark back to life as a mixed-use destination with modern office space, restaurants and a luxury apartment tower.

KHJ was hired to create a new name and brand. But there was just one problem: a local official told us that if the name was changed, we could expect pitchforks at the ground-breaking. To complicate matters, our research showed that the old name had no value for the city’s many newcomers, and could actually hurt leasing efforts.

“The key was to create a brand that felt modern while embracing the building’s history.”

Our solution was “Sibley Square,” a name that preserved the past while better capturing the essence of the sprawling development that covered multiple city blocks. This allowed us to give the apartment tower a name of its own, Spectra at Sibley Square, an homage to Rochester’s photonics history as the home to both Kodak and Xerox.

We borrowed elements from a classic fabric pattern to create a truly unique brand look and feel—a nod to the department store’s past. And our positioning line, “Live Bold,” perfectly expressed the sense of light, creativity and energy that was coming back to the area.

“Our new brand is simple and also very creative and unique. It got a lot of attention in the city!”

Brian Leverone, VP Winn Development