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Area Leaders React To Photonics Location Plans

Sep 17, 2015

Credit Eastmanbusinesspark.com

Plans are moving ahead with the effort to establish a photonics operation in the Rochester area after Governor Andrew Cuomo  announced a plan on where the various parts of that project would be located.

Cuomo  was brought into the discussions after a public squabble last month over whether the headquarters for the operation should be located at the Sibley Building, or Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb Building. 

The plan now calls for the headquarters to be at Legacy, with Sibley hosting a workforce development center and eventually incubator space for start-up companies.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who originally favored Sibley for the photonics headquarters, is fine with the way things turned out in this compromise.

"The fact that the workforce development will be there, it has a Start-Up New York Zone, High Tech of Rochester is incubated there and the incubator that they have , so it's going to play a significant role, but I think even as I was saying that was a preference, that really the manufacturing and Rochester's position in this were the most important things to me," Morelle said on Thursday.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, who had originally pushed for Sibley to be the headquarters, is also pleased with the way it all turned out , especially a commitment announced by Cuomo to have Eastman Business Park as the site for the manufacturing operations.

"The key is it's all in Rochester, the key is it's in locations that will be consistent with the economic revitalization of our city and our region; and the key is we have now an effect governance system and University of Rochester and RIT will have seats at the table.”

In a statement, Kodak CEO Jeff Clark said that “This decision is great news for Rochester. We are excited about the opportunities for innovation and economic growth that will stem from the establishment of photonics manufacturing in Eastman Business Park.”

Rochester Business Alliance President & CEO Bob Duffy also issued a statement saying that the RBA is “thrilled” with the decision and he says the headquarters will serve as a magnet for companies and he says Sibley, Eastman Business Park and other potential future locations will become catalysts for job creation.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-Fairport), said in a statement that the arrangement has forged a “great partnernership” that “will be able to deliver even more results moving forward.”

Photonics involves the use of light and optics in a number of high-tech applications and electronics. Seligman says the effort could eventually result in thousands of jobs being added at the Eastman Business Park.

There will also be a new seven-person board to oversee the project, three members from state government, two from SUNY Polytechnic, and one each from the University of Rochester and RIT.