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Photonics board decides HQ will locate with the R&D facility at Eastman Business Park

Mar 3, 2017

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

As work continues on expanding the photonics initiative in the Rochester area, officials have made a decision on where to put the local headquarters for the project.

At a meeting of the New York State Photonics Board of Officers on Friday, it was announced that the headquarters for the high tech project will be located right where the initial research and development facility is being established; at a former Kodak building at the Eastman Business park on Lake Avenue.

There was a big debate a couple of years ago about whether to put a headquarters office at Legacy Tower, the former Bausch + Lomb building, or at the Sibley Building. But now, the chairman of the New York State Photonics Board of Officers, John Maggiore says they’ve decided it just makes sense to keep the headquarters where the initial facility is being established.

“The real meat of the work, the research, the prototype manufacturing, it’s going to be done right here, so people coming in to meet with what are essentially a small number of administrators are coming in to where the action is, it’s also more cost effective.”

Bob Duffy is the Chairman of the AIM Photonics Leadership Council. He says as photonics grows, there will likely be an opportunity to put additional operations in buildings downtown and throughout the area.

“It’s up to us and this region now to take this tremendous opportunity with photonics, it’s going to be a sustainable ecosystem, and as we draw other companies here, other researchers, other resources, that is the opportunity for the Sibley Building, the Legacy Tower, Eastman Business Park and others.”

There is expected to be a ribbon cutting for the so-called Testing, Assembly and Packaging facility this summer.

The photonics board also has approved its $81 million budget for the coming year.  That is state funding, part of $250 million over five years that New York State has committed to the project.

The total budget for the initiative is more than $600 million. The federal government is committed to spending $110 million toward that budget, with the rest coming from the state, the private sector and other parties.

Also at Friday’s meeting, officials announced that General Electric and Mentor Graphics are partners in AIM Photonics. GE is working on a large project involving integrated photonic sensors.