Rochester Photonics Hub

Rochester will be the site of a new integrated photonics manufacturing innovation hub for the United States. Read WXXI News' coverage of this major economic development initiative and what it means for you and the region.

We should find out soon where the headquarters for a new Photonics Institute in Rochester will be located. 

That word Wednesday from Governor, when WXXI News asked him during his stop at the Upstate Latino Summit if there was any resolution to the debate.

There was some controversy last month over whether the headquarters for the new institute should be located at the Sibley Building or at Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb Building. 

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

"Well, for some of us it's been an interesting week."

Danny Wegman's opening remarks at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Counsel were met by laughter from those in attendance.

There has been a very public debate playing out over the last couple days, through statements and press releases by business owners, local leaders, and elected officials. Everyone is weighing in on where the photonics institute should be headquartered.


The ongoing saga about where a headquarters for the new photonics institute will be located continued on Tuesday. In one of the latest statements, there seems to some efforts at conciliation.

That statement was issued jointly by the SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. It says the two leaders share an unwavering commitment to establishing the headquarters for the photonics initiative in Downtown Rochester.

State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle says he finds it startling that the president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute would try to dictate the terms surrounding the location of the Photonics Institute's administrative headquarters in Rochester.

SUNY Polytechnic issued a news release Monday evening indicating that the photonics operation's business operations will be centered at Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb building.

B&L photo

After local leaders went back and forth over where the new headquarters for the phontonics institute would be located, officials have announced that Legacy Tower, the former Bausch+Lomb building, has won out. But some local leaders are saying that announcement Monday night doesn't mean this is a done deal.

In the last week, a group of local business leaders including  Rochester Business Alliance President Bob Duffy said they favored Legacy Tower as the location because they felt it would require less renovation than the other site being talked about, the Sibley Building.

University of Rochester

A day after a group of business leaders labeling themselves as the “Rochester Business Leaders Photonics Working Group” suggested that Legacy Tower, the former B + L building, might be easier to use as a headquarters buildling for the new photonics initiative, another group of business and political leaders issued a statement to say they still think the Sibley Building is the wisest choice.

B&L photo

A group of local business leaders is pushing for a photonics headquarters to be located at the former Bausch + Lomb building in Rochester.  There seems to be general support for the concept because of  one central desire among the various officials, and that is to make sure the operation is somewhere in the downtown Rochester area.

TWC News

New York Senator Chuck Schumer says  he has spoken with a top military official to urge that the Department of Defense select the Sibley Building in Downtown Rochester as the administrative headquarters for the new photonics center. Schumer says he spoke with Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.

The monthly science roundtable returns, and this month we have a timely subject: the science and application of photonics. The roundtable:

  • Rob Clark, Senior vice president research, dean of Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and chairman of the AIM Photonics board of directors
  • Duncan Moore, professor of optics; director of entrepreneurship at University of Rochester
  • Mike Mandina, president of Optimax
  • Ryne Raffaelle, vice president of research at RIT

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Its official: A $110 million federal grant will be matched with half a billion dollars in public and private investments in order to create a Photonics Research and Manufacturing Hub in Rochester. Vice President Joe Biden, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, and Governor Andrew Cuomo came together with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Mayor Lovely Warren, and other prominent officials at the Canal Ponds Business Park to make the announcement.