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Leaders say photonics institute HQ should be B&L building

A working group of Rochester business leaders focused on photonics says the headquarters for the new American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics should be at Rochester’s Legacy Tower at One Bausch & Lomb Place.

Working group members include Wegmans Food Markets Inc. CEO Danny Wegman, Eastman Kodak Co. CEO Jeffrey Clarke, Paychex Inc. CEO Marty Mucci, Home Properties Inc. CEO Edward Pettinella, The Pike Cos. Chairman Thomas Judson Jr. and Rochester Business Alliance Inc. president and CEO Robert Duffy.

“The entire Rochester region is excited and rallying around our combined photonics future,” the group said in a statement released Thursday. The group added they pledged “our collective support, expertise and voice as the process of launching the institute moves forward in earnest.”

The group said the “clear choice” for the photonics institute’s business headquarters and incubator facilities is Legacy Tower. 

“The former Bausch & Lomb building is a turnkey facility that would require almost no infrastructure upgrades, allowing the public’s investment to go toward its intended scientific and job creation purposes,” the group said.

They added that the location will also benefit other downtown buildings as new companies and facilities come to Rochester.

Late Thursday afternoon, WinnDevelopment LLC, Sibley’s developers, also released a statement on why Sibley is a good choice for the center, noting the building will be home to High Technology Rochester Inc. and is in the center of the downtown innovation zone.

“The Sibley Building’s location and partnerships can help maximize the positive impact of the photonics institute on Rochester like no other property,” Joseph Eddy, WinnDevelopment vice president, said in a statement.

Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said he thought the Sibley Building downtown would be the right site for the headquarters of the new national photonics institute.

Federal officials announced at the end of July a consortium led by the University of Rochester and SUNY Polytechnic Institute was selected by the Defense Department for the new American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics.

The New York-based consortium won a $110 million investment from the Defense Department, beating out two other finalists. New York has pledged $250 million and industry partners will contribute another $250 million.

The former Bausch & Lomb headquarters building was renamed Legacy Tower last November, in honor of the eye-care company’s history in Rochester and to pay tribute to the late developer, Laurence Glazer, and his wife, Jane.

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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