September 9, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking For High Tech Rochester Business Accelerator in the Historic Sibley Building

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking For...

$24 Million Project will Create an Estimated 1,000 New Jobs in the First Five Years


Governor Cuomo announced that work has begun on High Tech Rochester’s Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative, a facility aimed at driving regional growth in entrepreneurship and innovation. The 6th floor of the former Sibley’s department store at 250 East Main Street in downtown Rochester will undergo $24 million in renovations necessary for making it suitable for high-tech startups, including those that require “wet lab” facilities for biotech innovation and development. As the cornerstone of the city's Downtown Innovation Zone, 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.

Renderings of the redeveloped Sibley Building:

PHOTO 1        PHOTO 2

“This is an important step for creating a hub of entrepreneurial activity and job growth in downtown Rochester,” said Governor Cuomo. "The historic Sibley Building will soon have a high-tech space on its top floor, designed to attract the types of startups that will contribute to Rochester’s economic transformation. I applaud the Regional Economic Council for making this important project a reality. ”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was in Rochester to break ground on the incubation and business support facility.

Lieutenant Governor Hochul said: “Rochester is in the midst of an exciting economic transformation that is bringing new life to its City. High Tech Rochester Business Accelator, headquartered right in the heart of the new downtown innovation zone, will be a catalyst to spur even more start up activity. Governor Cuomo has made the revitalization of Rochester one of his top priorities and we will remain laser focused on doing our part to expand opportunity for all.”

High Tech Rochester: Rendering by the architectural team (tat)

High Tech Rochester’s Business Accelerator, which received $10 million in Regional Council funding, will serve a broad range of businesses from small service enterprises to technology-based start-ups and seek to accelerate 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.

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “Today marks significant progress in a realizing our community’s vision and determination to create a world-class innovation ecosystem that better supports entrepreneurship, accelerates commercialization, and drives economic development across the region. HTR’s Business Accelerator at the Sibley Building joins two of the region’s highest priorities to create an exciting hub of business support activity and synergy that will create jobs, foster ideas and emerging businesses so they may take hold and thrive in the region, and be an anchor to the City’s Downtown Innovation Zone. We thank Governor Cuomo for his support in helping realize this vision for our region.”

The 68,000-square foot 6th floor, once renovated, will include state-of-the-art labs, a 3D printing/prototyping lab, six wet labs, co-working space, traditional office space, conference rooms, and a 120-seat auditorium for programs, workshops and community events of interest to the region's entrepreneur community. Additionally, an open commons area will foster interaction and mutual support among the startups and an outdoor roof patio will be available for meetings, special events or an outdoor lunch.

Today’s event marks the beginning of Phase I of the project, which will involve the renovation and construction of an initial 37,000 square feet. Of particular interest are the plans for the Tea Room, which is designated as a Historical Site. Its historic design and fixtures will be kept intact and it will be utilized as an open co-working space with some small conference areas.

Plans also call for videoconferencing capabilities to be installed which will link High Tech Rochester's new downtown headquarters to its Lennox Tech Enterprise Center in Henrietta and to satellite locations throughout the Finger Lakes Region. The renovation is expected to be completed Fall of 2016.

One of the goals of the Business Accelerator is to have support resources co-located within the facility to foster interaction with the entrepreneurs. To that end, today High Tech Rochester announced that the three leading Rochester-based funding resources - Excell Partners, Rochester Angel Network, and Cranberry Capital - have committed to maintaining a presence within the facility. These leading investors will work alongside the local entrepreneurs in close proximity designed to foster easier connections, relationship building, and more funded startups.

As High Tech Rochester President Jim Senall said in December, when The Sibley Building was selected, “This is going to be really cool space.”

“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,” he adds. “Research has shown that startups that locate in an incubator and take advantage of experienced business mentors stand a much better chance of success than those that go it alone or work in isolation.”

WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn said, “The addition of High-Tech Rochester is a big step forward for the $200 million investment we are making in The Sibley Building as the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown. It’s fantastic to see the city’s most beloved historic building take an important, modern role as an accelerator for the growth of innovative high-tech start-up companies. Public-private partnerships are critical to this success and we appreciate all the support we’ve received from Governor Cuomo, The University of Rochester, and all our elected officials.”

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “Thanks to the commitment and vision of the University of Rochester, High Tech Rochester, Winn Development, our many government partners, and the critical funding made possible by Governor Andrew Cuomo, we are celebrating the renewal of the Sibley Building’s spirit and purpose. More importantly, High Tech Rochester’s Business Accelerator will further enhance our role as a national leader in innovative research and development, ultimately strengthening our economy, creating new jobs and securing a brighter future for our community.”

Senator Joe Robach said, “The creation of the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative and the redevelopment of the historic Sibley Building are critically important to the continued revitalization of downtown Rochester and the Greater Rochester area. The Business Accelerator will utilize the existing strengths of our region, such as our colleges and universities and our broad research and design base, to create jobs and expand our footprint in the fields of new and emerging technologies.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “High Tech Rochester has been a leader in fostering entrepreneurship and economic development, and today's groundbreaking results in even more good news for local business. With more jobs and heightened downtown development, the new business accelerator will become a cornerstone of Downtown innovation that will continue to bring new opportunities to an area on the rise.”

Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “High Tech Rochester’s move to the Sibley Building is an important step towards achieving our goal of bringing more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities to the City of Rochester. I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo and all of the member of State Assembly and Senate who fought for the funds that were needed to make this project possible. Rochester’s best days are ahead of us, and this development is yet another sign that our jobs future is brighter than ever.”

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

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office

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