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GATES, NY-The designation of a section of Monroe County, which includes the Rochester Technology Park–the former Eastman Kodak Elmgrove campus–as a tax-free Empire Zone should make the region more competitive and facilitate the attraction of new jobs and investment, state officials say.

“This Empire Zone will help create new jobs and private sector investment for Monroe County and represents another major step in our effort to meet the challenges presented by the national economic downturn,” Governor George Pataki said in announcing the Empire Zone designation on Thursday.

The zone consists of two square miles, or 1,280 acres, 500 acres of which have been designated in the Town of Gates at the Rochester Technology Park property. Businesses that operate inside the Zone are eligible for a range of tax benefits that are applied against new capital investments. Benefits include tax reduction credits, real property tax credits, sales tax exemptions, wage tax credits, and utility rate reductions, among others. The tax benefits can reduce a company’s tax liability to as little as zero, state officials say.

Brad Cohen, president of Cohen Asset Management, the owner of Rochester Technology Park, notes, “The Empire Zones in New York are the most competitive economic development program in the country. This will provide an extra incentive for several companies we are currently in talks with.”

The 500-acre campus contains five million square feet of multi-use commercial buildings. It is one of the largest multi-use office/industrial properties available for lease in the U.S., according to officials with Cohen Asset Management, a Los Angeles-based private REIT. The property is six miles west of downtown Rochester.

The property offers a variety of commercial uses including office, high tech manufacturing, biotech (dry and wet lab), telecommunications/data center, and warehouse space, Cohen Asset Management officials say. In addition, the property is zoned for retail and hotel uses. There are also 65-acres of developable land within the property.

Companies based at the Rochester Technology Center include: the world headquarters of Heidelberg Digital, a printing press and high performance digital copier manufacturer. The company occupies one million sf at the complex. Kodak continues to occupy close to 200,000 square feet at the facility. Lightwave Technologies leases approximately 30,000 sf with expansion anticipated in 2002 into an additional 75,000 sf of space.

In September 2001, the Rochester Sports Authority announced plans to build a professional soccer league stadium within the Rochester Technology Park campus.

In November of this year Cohen Asset Management named Binswanger/CBB as exclusive leasing and sales agent for the complex.

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