New High Tech Hub for Entrepreneurship Debuts in Sibley Square

Rochester Chamber member NextCorps, formerly High Tech Rochester, announced the official opening of a new state-of-the-art facility dedicated to fostering the creation and growth of high tech companies.  The new space, which occupies the sixth floor of historic Sibley Square, will serve as one of the cornerstones of the revitalization of downtown Rochester.

NextCorps is an affiliate of Rochester Chamber Partner member the University of Rochester and the region’s only state- and federally-designated business incubator. The $24 million project was supported with $10 million from the State of New York, $2.5 million from the federal Economic Development Administration, $3 million in private philanthropic donations, and is a priority project of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC).  The opening of the facility marks the completion of the $16 million phase 1 of the project.

The NextCorps accelerator’s move to establish its headquarters in this downtown Rochester landmark will catalyze and continue the economic transformation of both Rochester and the Finger Lakes region,” said Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development.

 “This new space represents the culmination of years of planning and effort to spark the growth of our region’s innovation economy,” said Peter Robinson, vice president for Government and Community Relations with the University of Rochester and chair of the NextCorps Board of Directors.  “None of this would have been possible without the support of the Governor Cuomo, our federal delegation led by Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congresswoman Slaughter, the Mayor and City Council, our state delegation, WinnDevelopment, DiMarco Constructors, and the generosity of donors who shared our vision to build a state-of-the-art high tech business incubator and accelerator in the heart of downtown Rochester.” 

 “By bringing together world-class academic and industry ideas and entrepreneurs and providing them with the resources and expertise necessary to grow and succeed, this new facility will help write the next chapter of the region’s economic story,” said James S. Senall, president of NextCorps.  “Placing it in the heart of downtown Rochester will not only help us attract a new generation of entrepreneurs who want an urban work-live environment, but it will also help propel the redevelopment of the city center.” 

The 40,000 square foot facility includes a signature co-working space located in the former Tea Room, private offices and suites, wet labs for biotech companies, a fully-equipped prototyping lab, conference rooms, a roof deck overlooking the Rochester skyline, an auditorium, and common areas, including a kitchen/cafeteria and game room.  HTR has an option to build out an additional 28,000 square feet on the sixth floor in response to future demand. 

NextCorps also provides resident companies with mentoring, legal, financial, accounting, networking, business plan development, and marketing services.  The facility will be home to an array of software, biomedical, health care, photonics, and electronics ventures and can accommodate as many as 40 or more companies. 

“When we built this facility we tried to think of everything an entrepreneur would need, so all they have to do is show up and start working,” said Senall.  “We know that bringing entrepreneurs together under one roof helps increase the odds of success.  This entire space was designed to foster interaction and drive ‘creative collisions’ that can create connections and partnerships that lead to growth.”

The opening of the new facility coincides with the launch of a new identity for High Tech Rochester.  The name NextCorps was chosen to reflect Rochester’s history of reinventing itself to respond to new economic opportunities and meeting the challenge of what comes next.  Corps is an acknowledgement that innovation and economic transformation can only be accomplished by dedicated group of individuals working collaboratively and with a shared vision to harness new ideas for growth.

Sibley Square – also a FLREDC priority project – is in the midst of a $200 million renovation by WinnDevelopment that will convert the 1.1 million square foot building into a mix of market-rate and affordable apartments with access to an entire floor of resident amenities, office and retail space, and health care services.  The project will serve as a focal point for the new Rochester Downtown Innovation Zone and is one of the major driving forces behind the ongoing revitalization of the city’s urban core.  In addition to restoring one of the region’s most historic and celebrated buildings, the project is expected to create more than 1,500 temporary construction jobs and 1,042 permanent jobs.

“We’re excited to welcome NextCorps to its new headquarters as we continue to transform the region’s most iconic building into a modern hub for housing, retail, and research and development,” said Gilbert Winn, CEO, WinnCompanies. “NextCorps’ choice of Sibley Square will write a new chapter in Rochester’s historic legacy of innovation through technology. Their presence will be a welcome catalyst for economic development.” 

The new facility will serve as the headquarters for NextCorps, which has moved its staff from the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center in Henrietta to Sibley Square.  In addition to high tech incubation and acceleration services, NextCorps also runs a number of other programs supporting business growth, including:  

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program –  NextCorps serves as the regional office for the MEP program, which is a national network dedicated to assisting the growth of small to mid-sized manufacturing companies in the Finger Lakes region;
  • Luminate NY – The world’s largest accelerator for photonics, optics, and imaging companies supported with $10 million from New York State through the FLREDC;
  • NEXUS-NY – a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-supported startup incubation/acceleration program for clean energy companies across the state;
  • Rochester Venture Challenge – An annual startup business competition;
  • The Entrepreneurs Network – A four-month accelerator program for startups or existing businesses seeking to grow;
  • NYSERDA EIR Program – A statewide program that matches entrepreneurs-in-residence/mentors with clean-energy startups; and
  • University of Rochester’s Student Incubator – part of the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and facilitates student-run businesses.