There’s a new RUMP Group in town. This time, the group of rich, older, powerful white men call themselves “Rochester Business Leaders Photonics Working Group.” The group includes Bob Duffy and Danny Wegman, as well as the CEOs of Paychex, Kodak, Home Properties and Pike.
None of them have any experience in photonics. But they do have experience in real estate. That’s why they feel they’re qualified to tell the Department of Defense that the photonics institute headquarters should be located at Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb building.
They do not think the headquarters should be located at the Sibley Building, despite the wishes of University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Senator Charles Schumer.
The group believes the Sibley Building will require too many infrastructure upgrades, while Legacy Tower is a turnkey operation. The group thinks the Sibley Building, which houses High Tech Rochester’s offices, is somehow not suited for photonics offices.
There’s no evidence to back up New RUMP Group’s claim. The SUNY people say it will take five months of planning to get the institute off the ground. That means we have no idea when the headquarters will need to open and the kind of space it will need. We have no idea if Legacy OR Sibley will be appropriate. We don’t know the cost of either space, in terms of rent or renovations.
Why would New RUMP Group come out in favor of Legacy Tower when they don’t know anything about the photonics institute’s needs or budget or timeline?
Money, of course.
Buckingham Properties must need the tenants at Legacy. Buckingham’s Ken Glazer was at the photonics announcement featuring Joe Biden. It didn’t take long for Glazer to figure out how to make money off the deal. Sibley is owned by out-of-towners and perhaps they didn’t get an invitation to New Rump Group.
It’s concerning these prominent business leaders would use their names for such naked favoritism. These men have essentially started an unnecessary public feud.
The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster – a real group of people who actually work in the field – point out this fight doesn’t even matter.
The DoD’s designation and future interest in Rochester is unrelated to local development interests. The DoD wants integrated device development as soon as possible. This work can move forward without an administrative office. It is unclear if it will stall if local interests refuse to coordinate and compromise. Either way, because of the excellent working partnership so far, New York is leading the nation in an international competition fueled by billions in research dollars. We have been designated and are the focus of international attention.
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