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Cuomo announces jobs for downtown Rochester; addresses change in plans for a photonics company

Office of NY Gov. Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Rochester Tuesday to talk about more high tech jobs coming to Rochester, and to recap some of the bullet points from his recent State of the State and budget proposals.

Reporters also asked Cuomo about one high tech company that originally planned to come to the area, but it was announced recently  those plans were dropped.

Cuomo came to the SUNY Rochester Educational Opportunity Center downtown to talk about Datto, a provider of computer data backup and recovery services, which plans to add 200 jobs to its local workforce.  Those will be in the Metropolitan, the new name for the former Chase Tower. The state is providing a $2.1 million capital grant for the project through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

Cuomo was later asked about the recent announcement that a California based company called Photonica, will not be coming to Rochester after an announcement last year that company would bring 400 jobs to the area. Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, said that the Photonica deal does not meet the standards required for a significant investment of state funds.

The governor says not all companies the state tries to get to come to New York follow through on those plans, saying that about 500 jobs have been brought to the state in recent years.

“Of those 500, some will be a success, some will turn out to be a bust, but net, we’re creating jobs, we’re getting return on our investment, etc.”

Cuomo also announced that the state will invest $20 million to support the new "REMADE Institute at RIT." That is a state-of-the-art research facility focusing on developing clean energy technology.

In terms of Datto,  Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, the president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, says that company is an example of the kinds of high tech companies that are getting more interested in locating in downtown areas.

“There’s a lot of ways that software design plays out on the marketplace and we’re just seeing the most amazing stories develop, so , stay tuned, I think that is the big story in commercial office space now is what we’re seeing in the Innovation Zone.”

The Innovation Zone is a section of downtown Rochester where officials are trying to attract startup and young companies.

Cuomo also spent part of Tuesday’s visit going over some of the main points in his State of the State address and budget proposals, touting the renewed emphasis on economic development, particularly upstate, and his proposal for free SUNY tuition for families meeting certain eligibility requirements.

Video by Denise Young:">

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.