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Constellation Brands move to bring 400+ jobs to downtown Rochester

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Max Schulte/WXXI News
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Aqueduct Building campus on East Broad St. in downtown Rochester.

  

Gov. Kathy Hochul, along with state and local officials, were in Rochester Wednesday to tout what they call a transformative project for downtown Rochester.

The largest part of the project is Constellation Brands will move its headquarters operation from the town of Victor to the Aqueduct Building along East Broad Street in downtown Rochester.

As part of the move, more than 340 jobs will be coming downtown. Constellation Brands said it will continue to have a significant presence in Ontario County, where the company was founded, with about 200 employees in an office building it owns in Canandaigua.

Hochul said the company will invest approximately $50 million to renovate five buildings on the Aqueduct campus located between East Main and Broad Streets. Property developers will invest an additional $30 million on the riverfront campus. The project will include building a 120-space parking structure, and restoring parts of the Aqueduct building campus.

Constellation Brands expects to create more than 80 new local jobs in addition to the 340 jobs that are being moved to the downtown area.

Construction is set to begin in 2022 and should be ready for occupancy by spring 2024.

New York state is providing up to $9 million to help pay for initial infrascture upgrades. The city of Rochester will get a $5 million Upstate Revitalization Grant and Empire State Development is providing up to $4 million in tax credits.

Officials said the project will jumpstart efforts already underway as part of the ROC the Riverway initiative.  The Aqueduct Reimagined Project, which is adjacent to the where the new headquarters for Constellation Brands will be, will include the removal of the vehicular bridge deck on Broad Street, exposing the original aqueduct framework that was built in 1836.

The governor’s office said that work will dramatically open up the views of the Genesee River and potential trail conections in the downtown river corridor.

Bill Newlands, President and CEO of Constellation Brands, said that his company began in the Rochester area about 75 years ago, and it is committed to this region.

“We think the future in this Aqueduct facility creates a great opportunity for us to not only take what we’ve done but to build on that success for the future; to create a modernization program," said Newlands. "Yes, it might be even hard to see that today, but a modernization program in a building that does date back to the 1880s."

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Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
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Constellation Brands president & CEO Bill Newlands at the announcement about the HQ moving to downtown Rochester.

Constellation has called Victor home since 2009. Victor Supervisor Jack Marren told WXXI News on Tuesday that he first learned a few weeks ago that the company was looking to move to Rochester. He said he was surprised because just before the COVID-19 pandemic, Constellation Brands was looking at enlarging its presence in Victor either at the existing location or at an alternate site. He said the town will have to start looking to fill the space on High Point Drive.

"We look at this (the current Victor site) as a Class A-plus location in the town, and it’s going to be, certainly in my opinion, hard to fill," Marren said. "We hope to backfill it someday, but not what we expected by any means. So, just disappointed."

Marren said that while Victor will see some negative economic impact from Constellation Brands moving its headquarters, he believes there are still a lot of employees who live in the town who will continue living there even after the company's move.