Governor Kathy Hochul was in Rochester on Wednesday to announce a major move by one of the Finger Lakes Region’s largest companies. Constellation Brands will be part of an $82 million investment to revitalize downtown Rochester as it moves its global headquarters from Victor, New York, to downtown Rochester.
It will be located in the historic Aqueduct Building located along the Genesee River in downtown Rochester. The Fortune 500® company will invest approximately $50 million to renovate five buildings on the Aqueduct campus located between East Main and Broad streets, across from Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.
Purchased in March of 2020, the property developers plan to invest an additional $30 million at the 170,000 square-foot riverfront campus. The transformative project will also involve the construction of a 120-space parking structure, and qualified historic restoration of the Aqueduct buildings’ windows and other architectural features. Constellation Brands expects to create more than 80 new local jobs as part of the project in addition to the more than 340 jobs that will move to the Aqueduct location, while roughly 200 employees will continue to be based out of the Canandaigua office. The company expects to be operational at the historic waterfront facility In the Spring of 2024.
“Constellation Brands’ exciting decision to expand its regional operations and establish its new headquarters in downtown Rochester will help to further advance our efforts to create new, good-paying jobs and a thriving city center,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Downtown Rochester’s Innovation Zone is already home to some of the most talent-rich companies in the world. This transformative project at the historic Aqueduct Building will also help to maximize our $50 million ROC The Riverway efforts, which are reimagining and transforming the waterfront along the beautiful Genesee River, helping Rochester to thrive for generations to come.”
Founded more than 75 years ago in the city of Canandaigua, Ontario County Constellation Brands, with close to 9,000 employees worldwide, is one of the fastest-growing large CPG companies in the U.S. at retail, and a leading international producer and marketer of iconic beer, wine, and spirits brands such as Corona Extra and Modelo Especial beer brands, and high-quality premium wine and spirits brands, including the Robert Mondavi brand family, Kim Crawford, The Prisoner brand family, SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila, and High West Whiskey. The company also maintains an interest in the emerging cannabis industry.
“We believe the Aqueduct campus is a great headquarter location for our growing company providing our employees a modern work environment that will continue to foster collaboration within the company and the community,” Bill Newlands, President and chief executive officer, Constellation Brands said. “We look forward to contributing to the economic development and job creation of the Rochester area for years to come.”
“We have been a proud member of the Rochester community and surrounding area for more than 75 years and are excited to continue our commitment in supporting Rochester’s urban revitalization efforts,” Rob Sands, executive chair of Constellation’s Board of Directors said.
The state and city will expedite the Aqueduct Reimagined project adjacent to the new headquarters campus to align with Constellation Brands’ renovation plans and anticipated move in date. The Aqueduct Reimagined project is the centerpiece of the “ROC The Riverway” initiative and will remove the vehicular bridge deck on Broad Street, which was added in 1927, exposing the original aqueduct framework that was constructed in 1836 at its original elevation, dramatically opening up the views of the river and potential trail connections in the downtown river corridor. Work is expected to begin in mid-to-late 2022 and will start with utility upgrades that most directly impact the Aqueduct campus.
New York State is providing up to $9 million to facilitate the crucial initial infrastructure upgrades required on the Aqueduct campus. The City of Rochester will receive a $5 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant for the public infrastructure improvements to begin the initial construction phase of the Aqueduct Reimagined project. Empire State Development is also providing up to $4 million to Constellation Brands through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit program in exchange for job creation commitments. Monroe County, Rochester Gas & Electric, The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also assisting with the transformative project.
The aqueduct transformation will further catalyze the momentum already underway in downtown Rochester thanks to the “ROC the Riverway” initiative. The 13 selected phase one projects, funded by a $50 million Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant, aim to revolutionize the area surrounding the Genesee River and unlock the potential of Rochester’s waterfront. To date, all targeted projects are either in the design phase, under construction, or have been completed. These projects include the incredibly successful community ROC City Skate Park, which was built under the I-490 Fredrick Douglass-Susan B, Anthony Bridge. Constellation Brands new headquarters will also be located within Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone, which is now home to almost 200 innovative, high-tech companies.
“Constellation Brands is popping the cork on a new era in downtown Rochester’s development with its decision to add jobs and expand in the City of Rochester. The historic Aqueduct campus that once overlooked the spot that gave rise to the Flour City – the intersection of the historic Erie Canal at the Genesee River – is now at the heart of downtown’s Innovation Zone and will once again be a growth driver thanks to Constellation Brand’s investment. I applaud Constellation, Governor Hochul, and everyone who contributed to bring this development to fruition,” added Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“Constellation Brands is a global leader in the beverage industry and I am proud to welcome the company to City of Rochester.Thisrelocation will revitalize the city center by investing millions into the local economy, creating more than 80 new jobs and shifting 340 more to this location. I will continue fighting for investments that draw world-class corporations to New York and help Rochester continue to grow and thrive,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of the move.
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