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UR gets START-UP NY approval for Eastman Business Park buildings, tech incubator


Three buildings with links to the University of Rochester are now part of a state program, START-UP NY, that will essentially turn the buildings into tax-free zones. The UR's application for inclusion was approved by the program's board yesterday. 

One of the buildings is High Tech Rochester's Lennox Tech Enterprise Center in Henrietta, which is a tech start-up incubator. The other two are buildings 59 and 320 in Eastman Business Park, which contain a combination of wet lab, dry lab, and office space, says UR spokesperson Mark Michaud.

START-UP NY is one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature economic development initiatives. It's open to start-up businesses, companies relocating to New York, and existing companies that are expanding and adding jobs. The businesses also have to partner with a college or university and locate in space that's linked — not necessarily in a physical way — to the institution. 

UR is leasing the Eastman Business Park buildings from Kodak, which owns the park High Tech Rochester is a UR affiliate and its incubator is home to start-ups that grew out of research at the university, Michaud says.

For private universities such as the UR, Empire State Development must sign off on the businesses that locate in the spaces. Businesses that participate in START-UP NY don't pay taxes for 10 years.

Michaud says that more than 70 companies have approached UR officials about partnering through START-UP. Most are high tech, high-growth start-ups in the fields of medicine, alternative energy, engineering, optics, imaging, data sciences, and information technology, he says. The university does significant research in all of those areas. 

He also says that many of the firms are from out of state.

The three sites will appeal to firms at different stages of growth and will help create high-tech jobs with good pay, says Peter Robinson, UR’s vice president for government and community relations.

The incubator space will be attractive to companies – both local and from outside of the state -- that are in their earliest start-up phases, he says. While the Eastman Business Park space will be attractive to companies that are growing or expanding, he says.

Rochester Institute of Technology has also had space approved for the START-UP NY program. Last month, it announced that the data backup and recovery firm Datto would locate in space at the Rochester Savings Bank building downtown, which RIT owns.