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In December, Schumer Secured More Than $40 Million In “New Markets Tax Credits” To Complete Massive Sibley Construction Plan To Revitalize Downtown Rochester – High Tech Of Rochester’s (HTR) Business Accelerator Will Be An Anchor In The Newly Renovated Building And Help Create Jobs

Schumer Pushes Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) To Swiftly Approve More Than $2 Million In Funding For HTR So It Can Construct The 6th Floor Of The Sibley Building – HTR Business Accelerator Is Expected To Create Roughly 1,000 New Jobs Within Its First 5 Years

Schumer: Fed Investment Will Help Transform Downtown Rochester & Anchor Of Sibley Building

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched his push to secure $2.6 million in federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds to construct the High Tech of Rochester’s (HTR) new Business Accelerator. Schumer explained that this new business incubator would be constructed on the 6th floor of the recently redeveloped Sibley Building in downtown Rochester. Schumer said this would help build upon the success of the more than $40 million New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) he helped secure back in December 2015 that helped make the redevelopment of the Sibley Building possible. In a letter and a personal phone call to the head of EDA, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams, Schumer said this project could be a boon for the Rochester economy, as it is estimated that the HTR Business Accelerator will create up to an estimated 1,000 new jobs within its first five years, including construction jobs and new jobs created from the startups launched at the facility. 

“High Tech Rochester has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial- and innovation-based growth throughout the community for years. This new facility would allow HTR to expand these efforts further and build upon the massive federal investment that helped make revitalizing the Sibley Building possible. The stars are aligning for HTR, and these federal EDA funds would allow it to make this worthwhile project a reality. I’m urging the EDA to approve this $2.6 million in federal funds right away, so HTR can get started creating nearly 1,000 new jobs through its startups and construction,” said Senator Schumer. “This project will be a win-win-win, for residents, businesses and the historic Sibley site, as it will unlock the kind of economic potential that will reinvigorate downtown Rochester for years to come.”

Schumer explained that these federal EDA funds would help get phase one of the HTR Business Accelerator underway, which would build-out 40,000 sq. ft. of space that will house approximately 24 private startup companies’ offices, as well as co-working space to accommodate up to 50 additional entrepreneurs and their team members. It will also include state-of-the-art laboratory space and will feature conference rooms and an auditorium for programs, workshops and community events. Finally, it will include an open commons area that will foster interaction and mutual support among the startups. The HTR Business Accelerator incubator will be an anchor for the redeveloped Sibley Building, as well as the new Downtown Rochester Innovation Zone, and complement the planned space that will be created at Sibley for the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics’ workforce development center and eventually photonic company incubator facilities

Schumer said the Downtown Rochester Innovation Zone and the Sibley Building redevelopment plan is aimed at turning Main Street in downtown Rochester into a hub for new photonics and high-tech businesses, as well as mixed-use areas with places to live, shop, eat, do business and more. Local leaders from the City of Rochester, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, and High Tech of Rochester have established a Downtown Innovation Zone, anchored by the new HTR Business Accelerator incubator that will be constructed in the Sibley building. HTR plans to house approximately 24 high tech businesses at its new business incubator in the Sibley building to spur hundreds of jobs. Schumer said the stars are now aligning to grow the new Downtown Innovation Zone and will be bolstered by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Center for Urban Entrepreneurship business incubator, which is located next door to Sibley.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman said, “I want to thank Senator Schumer for his critical support for High Tech Rochester’s Business Accelerator. This project represents an important public-private partnership that will anchor the City of Rochester's Innovation Zone with a state-of-the-art, coordinated incubation facility that will help accelerate the region’s transition to an entrepreneurship and innovation driven economy.   With federal support, we can create an exciting hub of business support activity and synergy that will create jobs and foster new ideas and emerging businesses so they may take hold and thrive in the region.”

Schumer has long pushed to make this downtown revitalization a reality:

-          In 2013, Schumer secured a $1.5 million federal EDA construction grant to build out the RIT incubator in the historic Rochester Savings Bank building.

-          In 2014, he secured another $1.5 million federal funding to construct new on-street parking along East Main Street to help complement the new development planned for Main Street downtown.

-          In 2015, Schumer helped secure $42.5 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits that were needed to greenlight the multi-phase $200 million redevelopment of the Sibley Building into a vibrant downtown hub for photonics spin-offs, high tech businesses, new shops, and tenants.

-          Schumer said securing these federal NMTC funds was the final piece of the puzzle needed in order for the Sibley Building developers, WinnDevelopment, to start construction on the first $110 million in renovations on-schedule, and ultimately to move forward on the complete multi-phase, job-creating $200 million Sibley redevelopment plan.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the EDA appears below:

Dear Assistant Secretary Williams:

I write to express my strong support for High Tech Rochester’s (HTR) application to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for $2 million that will help fund the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative project in the City of Rochester. High Tech Rochester has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial and innovation-based growth throughout the community.

Founded in 1987, HTR has a proven record of fostering economic development in the Finger Lakes region.  It is recognized as one of the leading business incubators in New York State.  HTR also serves as one of Empire State Development’s (ESD) Regional Technology Development Centers (RTDC), through which it provides a variety of programs and services from the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership program aimed at helping grow already-established companies.

After nearly 30 years, HTR has outgrown its existing facilities and is long overdue for an expansion.  The new Business Accelerator will create new and expanded wet labs, prototyping resources, areas for events, and ecosystem partner offices. Excell Partners, the Rochester Angel Network, SCORE Rochester, and the Small Business Development Center will be joining HTR in the new hub, bringing 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.  This is one of the region’s highest economic development priorities, and has strong support from New York State, the City of Rochester, and the University of Rochester. 

Additionally the HTR Accelerator is a key anchor in the revitalization of not only downtown Rochester, but a launching pad to reposition and grow the Rochester region’s future business sectors.  Physically, the HTR Accelerator will be located in the heart of Rochester’s new Downtown Innovation Zone.  The Downtown Innovation Zone is aimed at turning around Main Street and Downtown Rochester into a hub for new high tech, photonics, and entrepreneurial activities alongside new mixed-use developments with places to live, shop, eat, do business and more.  The EDA, in fact, has been a vital partner in setting the stage for the creation and future success of the Innovation Zone through past grant awards make to projects located in the Innovation Zone including the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) and the Midtown Rising site which is now home to new businesses and commercial development. EDA’s support now of the HTR Accelerator will not only leverage these earlier EDA investments, but provide the impetus to push Rochester’s economic development results to even new heights. 

I applaud High Tech Rochester for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.  Thank you for your consideration.


Charles E. Schumer

United State Senator