December 15, 2014

Governor Cuomo Announces Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative to Locate in Rochester's Historic Sibley Building

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Finger Lakes Business...

Projects received funding through Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative

Estimated 1,000 new jobs in the first five years


See renderings of the redeveloped Sibley Building here, here and here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that High Tech Rochester’s Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative will locate in the former Sibley’s department store in downtown Rochester, creating the cornerstone component of the newly designated Downtown Innovation Zone. Both the Business Accelerator and The Sibley Building were awarded funding through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative last week. It is estimated that the Business Accelerator will create more than 1,000 new jobs—in the forms of new business creation or expansion—in the first five years of operation. The initial phases of The Sibley Building’s redevelopment are projected to create more than 900 jobs.

“This will help create jobs and grow the local economy– all anchored in an important Rochester landmark,” Governor Cuomo said. "Repurposing and developing The Sibley Building is an important step for Rochester, and this transformation is a great example of what can be achieved through the Regional Council process.”

Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, “This project will create a community and business hub in Rochester, with entrepreneurs, support institutions, public transportation and housing right here in downtown. Under the Governor’s support, we are revitalizing the Finger Lakes region and creating a center for entrepreneurship and innovation in the city’s urban core. I thank our partners that support The Sibley Building as well as the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative for their hard work in making this a true home for development.”

Lieutenant Governor Duffy was in Rochester today at the nearly-complete new office lobby at The Sibley Building, which was awarded $500,000 in the third round of Regional Council funding. The $1.1 million square foot former Sibley’s department store in downtown Rochester, which received an additional $3 million in the fourth round of Regional Council funding, is in the midst of a $200 million comprehensive restoration. The project will transform the largest building in Monroe County into a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments, office and retail space, an outdoor roof terrace, an urban farmers market and underground parking. The project is a critical component of Rochester’s downtown revitalization and will attract residents, employment and investment back to the city’s center. The building is within a 15-minute walk of the entire downtown core and the thriving East End district, and it is directly adjacent to the region’s new transit center.

High Tech Rochester’s Business Accelerator, which received $5 million in the fourth round of Regional Council funding, has reached a deal with The Sibley Building’s developer, WinnDevelopment, to locate on the top floor of the building. The creation of a $24 million incubation and business support facility in downtown Rochester will drive regional growth in entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as help accelerate the revitalization of the city by creating an “innovation district” in the heart of Rochester.

The Business Accelerator will serve a broad range of businesses from small service enterprises to technology-based start-ups across all industry clusters with the goal of accelerating the growth of local small businesses by moving clients through the formation, incubation and accelerated phase of growth. It will bring streamlined programs and services to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the region, including outreach to underrepresented groups, such as minority- and woman-owned businesses and young entrepreneurs. New York State has already awarded $5 million to the multi-phase accelerator project during the 2011 and 2012 Consolidated Funding Application processes. So far, a portion on this support has enabled the establishment of a region-wide video conferencing system that better connects the region’s entrepreneurs with necessary resources and the creation of an online entrepreneurship resource center.

High Tech Rochester President Jim Senall said, “We are thrilled to announce the selection of The Sibley building as the site of HTR’s new headquarters and the future home to some of the most innovative and exciting startup companies in our region. Given the building’s rich history and importance to our city, I can think of no better site to serve as the hub of our region's growing innovation economy.”

WinnDevelopment Vice President Joseph Eddy said, “We’re thrilled to welcome High Tech Rochester to Rochester’s largest and most beloved building. Renovating the historic Sibley Building and transforming downtown Rochester wouldn’t be possible without the support and leadership from Governor Cuomo and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. This project demonstrates the success of public-private partnerships and how targeted investments focusing on the strengths of a region can be a catalyst for economic development.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said, “The recent Regional Council awards announcement was a huge success for the Finger Lakes region and especially the City of Rochester. Today our two largest award recipients, High Tech Rochester’s Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative Hub Facility and WinnDevelopment’s Sibley Building redevelopment project, are partnering to create a high tech incubator hub that will support entrepreneurship and innovation right in the city’s core and that will drive our region’s economy forward.”

Senator Joseph Robach said, “With the historic Sibley Building home to the new Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative Hub Facility, both High Tech Rochester and WinnDevelopment deserve congratulations. Both entities are providing a boost to our region by creating jobs and investing in the community.”

City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, “I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the potential our city holds and for his steadfast support as Rochester develops into one of the nation’s most vibrant, skilled and innovative cities to do business in. I am committed to the revitalization of our Center City, and the iconic Sibley Building is a key part of this. The High Tech Rochester Finger Lakes Business Accelerator will be a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation-based economic development and surely be a critical partner as we continue to grow jobs for the new age of American manufacturing and propel Rochester into the future. Today is a simply a wonderful day for Rochester.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “High Tech Rochester has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial and innovation-based growth throughout our community. Locating the new business accelerator in the Center City and Downtown Innovation Zone will bring new opportunities to an area on the rise. I commend my fellow council members and Empire State Development for recognizing the true potential of such a transformational project.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “Next generation jobs like the ones that will be created by High Tech Rochester’s new business accelerator are key to driving our region’s economy forward. Funding through the Finger Lakes Regional Council has been instrumental in getting these two projects off the ground and I am delighted that they are partnering to strengthen our economy and provide opportunities that had been lacking, while creating a vibrant, mixed use community in the historic Sibley Building.”

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After three rounds of the Regional Economic Development Council process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 130,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit

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