08.04.15

SCHUMER URGES TOP MILITARY OFFICIAL TO PUT ADMIN HEADQUARTERS FOR NEW PHOTONICS CENTER IN HISTORIC SIBLEY BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER – WITH NEARLY 1 MILLION SQUARE FEET IN PRIME SPACE, SENATOR SAYS SIBLEY BUILDING IS THE PERFECT FIT TO HOUSE PHOTONICS HEADQUARTERS

DOD, Photonics Consortium Will Soon Decide The Location Of Administrative Headquarters For New Rochester Photonics Center; Schumer Successfully Secured Critical $110 Million Fed Funding For NYS Proposal Led By UR, RIT, SUNY Poly Consortium And Others To Create State-Of-The-Art Photonics Center 

Administrative Center Would Be The Anchor For The New Downtown Innovation Zone Centered At Sibley; Schumer Says With New RIT Business Incubator And Upcoming High Tech Of Rochester Incubator Creating Downtown Innovation Zone, Adding Photonics HQ Will Create Win-Win-Win – Sibley Would Help Bring New Businesses, Workers To Downtown Rochester, Spur Local Development And Create Jobs In Center City 

Schumer To DOD: Historic Sibley Building Is The Perfect Home For New Administrative HQ 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer spoke directly to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work to urge the Department of Defense (DOD) to select the Sibley Building in Downtown Rochester as the administrative headquarters for the new Rochester photonics center. Just last month, Schumer announced that the Rochester-led proposal, backed by the University of Rochester (UR), SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), was selected by the DOD as the new American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics. Now, Schumer is pushing the DOD to select the option locals have identified as the perfect way to locate the headquarters right in downtown to create a strong cluster of innovation. Schumer explained the administrative center will house workers to assist in directing the over $600 million Rochester AIM facility in its work. Schumer explained for the past three years, beginning with a $1.5 million federal Economic Development Administration grant he secured to create RIT’s new business incubator at the iconic former Rochester Savings Bank building, Schumer has bolstered efforts to transform downtown Rochester into a new Innovation Zone centered at East Main Street near the Liberty Pole. With more than 1-million square feet of space and home to the upcoming High Technology of Rochester’s business incubator next year, Schumer said the Sibley Building presents a logical choice to house the business headquarters of the federally backed photonics center.

“The new photonics center will be an absolute game-changer in making Rochester the global center of photonics research and development – and in order to become a true hub of innovation, this new institute is going to need a top-notch nerve center for its administrative activities,” said Schumer. “That’s why I’m urging the Department of Defense to make the historic Sibley Building in downtown Rochester the new home of the AIM Photonics Center’s administrative headquarters. With nearly 1 million square feet to take advantage of and its prime downtown location in the heart of downtown’s emerging Innovation Zone, the Sibley Building will be a perfect fit. Making this facility one of Sibley’s first tenants would help it serve as an anchor to attract new businesses, increase regional economic development and bring good-paying jobs to the people of Rochester.”

Schumer explained that once Rochester was selected as the new AIM Photonics Center in July of this year, attention turned to finding a site to house the center’s administrative activities. Schumer said the iconic Sibley building would meet those needs. With more than 1 million square feet, the building has the potential not only to house the photonics center’s administrative operations, but with Technology of Rochester’s new high tech business incubator coming to Sibley’s that will be adjacent to RIT’s new downtown business incubator at Franklin Street, the addition of the AIM Photonics headquarters will add the critical mass needed to solidify downtown’s Innovation Zone. Schumer said the decision of where to put the photonics center’s business operations would be decided by the proposal’s sponsors and the DOD, and already has the backing of University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

Schumer played an integral role in bringing the AIM Photonics Center to Rochester over the past several years beginning in March 2013 when he stood with the Presidents of both UR and RIT to announce legislation to create a national network of manufacturing innovation centers and how Rochester could compete for a photonics manufacturing center. In October 2014, he launched an effort to bring the center with the support of the Rochester consortium leading the proposal. In July, the DOD announced that Rochester had been selected as the center’s new home, a move that would spur the region to become the global leader in producing cutting-edge technology. However, obstacles still remain in allowing the photonics center to thrive in Rochester. Last week, Schumer urged the DOD, Department of State, and Department of Commerce to revise a proposed rule that would limit the duel use applications the photonics industry can export. Schumer said this rule would hinder Rochester’s photonics lab from making its technology and products available to foreign markets.

Schumer said the historic Sibley Building has served as a cornerstone of downtown Rochester for over a century. The building originally was the home for the department store Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Co. Since Sibley’s departure, the city has tried to attract new businesses to occupy the space. In 2012, Winn Development announced plans for a $200 million renovation of the iconic building, with plans to create new commercial and business space and open retail stores, restaurants, and residential units. Winn has undertaken a number of upgrades to refurbish the building and make it prime real estate for businesses. Schumer said the Rochester photonics institute, as a main tenant, would serve as an anchor that would attract new businesses, spur local investment and create new jobs. Schumer said filling the historic Sibley building with new tenants was a top priority of his as part of a broader effort to revitalize the downtown Rochester area, and the AIM Photonics Center would be a great way to continue that effort.

Photonics is a type of science that incorporates the generation, emission, transmission and amplification of light, usually involving optics. This light is used for products such as lasers and telecommunications, and it is an area of expertise for Rochester. Moreover, photonics can be harnessed to create new breakthrough technologies like Photonic Integrated Circuits that use light to move data on a computer chip. This research would create a new generation of photonic integrated circuits that could one day drive everything from smartphones to medical devices could boost the power and speed of these electronic devices. Schumer said that leading institutions, business, and economic development organizations, such as University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY Polytechnic, came together in a joint collaborative effort in order to pursue the AIM Photonics Center to further grow the Upstate New York photonics industry, centered in the Rochester Finger Lakes region.

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