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Local Leaders Weigh In On Potential Business Park Sale

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Eastman Business Park
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Eastman Business Park

Most of the area leaders WXXI News spoke with said they were not surprised about Tuesday's announcement from Eastman Kodak that it plans to look for a buyer for the Eastman Business Park. Local officials note that Kodak is not really interested in being a landlord, and has to focus on building the restructured company.

Sandy Parker, CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance, says the eventual sale of this park was expected:

"This wasn't a surprise and I think it's good news for the community in that it gives Kodak the opportunity to focus in on its line of business, and a new developer of Eastman Business Park will focus on completing the re-purposing of the park and filling it up."

Parker notes that the business park is still a big priority of the RBA and a number of local economic development corporations.

Mark Peterson is President of Greater Rochester Enterprise, the business group that tries to get companies to expand and locate here.  He says getting a new owner may turn out to actually help Eastman Business Park in the long term. 

Peterson says there may not be a lot of potential owners who would want a facility of this type, but he does say that a complex like this doesn't come on the market every day so there should be some good interest here.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman is a co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council which consistently has named the development of Eastman Business Park as its top priority.

Seligman is hopeful a buyer will be found who can bring this park to the next level:

"Now we need someone to administer the park who understands how to advertise and promote it throughout the country and who can work with the number of very significant unoccupied buildings to fill it up with great potential tenants.”

Seligman also feels the state has already shown a strong commitment to the business park, including recent efforts to deal with the environmental cleanup there.

Vincent Esposito is the Regional Director for Empire State Development. He says even if the park is sold, the state stands ready to help continue with its redevelopment:

"Eastman Business Park remains an incredible asset and it's one that we, particularly New York State is working very hard to redevelop and turn into a job generator again, so a new landlord or a new owner of the park  could reinvigorate things in that regard. "

Esposito says the state has already committed millions of dollars to the efforts to revitalize that business park.

Larry Glazer is a well known local developer who heads up Buckingham Properties. He says Eastman Business Park could make sense to the right developer, but he says some prospective buyers might be put off by past environmental issues, even though those are being cleaned up:

"I think it's possible that certain owners are just not comfortable having to wade through programs like this, they're looking for clean sites because that's an alternative, weighing against that is the infrastructure and what exists at the Eastman business center ."

Glazer says on the plus side, the business park does have some valuable land, a lot of important infrastructure and good access to major roads. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.