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U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today released the following statement in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation’s (RDDC) brand new food business incubator The Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator, which will be located in Rochester’s iconic Sibley Building:

“Thanks to the key ingredient I was proud to secure—a nearly $1 million federal grant—and the tremendous work of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, Rochester’s new Commissary Kitchen Incubator breaks ground and gets cooking today. Construction of this revolutionary, cutting-edge facility will help transform the historic downtown Sibley Building into the region’s first food-business incubator.  The Commissary Kitchen Incubator is Rochester’s recipe to serve up major economic development, new businesses, and 100 new jobs while creating a destination to bring visitors, diners and more to revitalize downtown.  I can’t wait to see, visit, and taste, what aspiring food entrepreneurs cook up once construction is complete,” said Senator Schumer.

Schumer said that The Commissary will boost the Rochester-area economy by spurring the establishment of numerous start-up packaged food and beverage manufacturing businesses, restaurants, bakeries, caterers, food truck operators, and other food-related businesses by reducing the otherwise high cost of creating a licensed commercial kitchen. It will also house a demonstration kitchen where start-ups can market or sell their products to the public, hold food events and cooking classes, and will provide mentoring, training, and business support services to entrepreneurs to help their fledgling businesses take root and succeed. In October of 2018, Schumer visited the site of The Commissary and wrote to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to push for a critical $982 thousand grant from the Economica Development Administration (EDA) to construct The Commissary, and in February of 2019 announced his success.

Schumer has successfully secured prior EDA grants used to construct new downtown job-creating projects including a $1.5 million EDA grant to build the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) and a $2 million EDA grant to construct the Midtown Rising site, which is now home to new businesses and commercial development. Additionally, 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. Schumer also worked to secure a $2.6 million EDA grant to build the NextCorps (formerly High Tech of Rochester) Accelerator on Sibley’s 5th and 6th Floors. Securing the 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 and setting the state for job-creating development like The Commissary.