The state has announced the headquarters of Rochester’s new $600 million Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation will be located in the Legacy tower, formerly the Bausch and Lomb building.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Rochester also came to an agreement that the Sibley building will house the workforce development center for the project, and Eastman Business Park will be the site of the project’s manufacturing operations.
The project leaders had previously disagreed about where the headquarters for the institute should be located; Morelle and University of Rochester president Joel Seligman wanted the offices housed in the Sibley Building, while SUNY Polytechnic Institute CEO Alain Kaloyeros, and Rochester Business Alliance president and CEO Robert Duffy preferred the Legacy Tower.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office reportedly stepped in to mediate the conflict.
“New York is incredibly proud to be chosen as the home for this new, groundbreaking photonics institute, and we are hard at work to ensure development of this job-creating, game changing project advances as quickly as possible,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
Vice president Joe Biden and Cuomo announced in July Rochester would be the site for the new institute, after the city became one of three finalists, edging out Florida and California, in a federal competition for the project.
The state will contribute $250 million in funds for the venture, while $110 million will come from the U.S. Department of Defense, and a consortium of private companies and other donors will contribute the rest.
“Today, because of Gov. Cuomo’s leadership and vision, New York is taking a giant leap forward in establishing Rochester as the global center of photonics-driven research and development, while further capitalizing on this unprecedented state and federal investment to leverage high-tech to renew downtown neighborhoods,” Kaloyeros stated.
Additionally, Cuomo said a seven-person governance board will be created to help oversee and implement the program, consisting of three members from state government, two from SUNY Polytechnic, and one each from the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Photonics uses light, or photons, in lasers, telecommunications and other technology. Federal officials expect photonics manufacturing to improve Internet speed, medical technology, and radar and battlefield imaging used by the Department of Defense.
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), the driving force behind the effort to compete for the project, also released the following statement regarding the announcement:
“Today’s announcement is confirmation of what we’ve known all along — that nowhere on Earth is better equipped than Rochester to bring the science of photonics to life.”
The Rochester area is currently home to an estimated 100 companies already focused on optics and photonics.