Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the State and Eastman Kodak Company have reached a landmark agreement to ensure that Eastman Business Park (EBP), in Rochester, continues to be a magnet for new job, business and investment growth.
"Today's agreement with Kodak on the future of Eastman Business Park is great news for the community of Rochester," Governor Cuomo said. "Under this agreement, which addresses environmental, operations and management concerns, we are ensuring that EBP will remain a major and stable economic driver in the City, growing existing businesses, attracting new investments and creating jobs for the entire Finger Lakes region. I thank all the stakeholders for coming together for a compromise that works for New Yorkers."
The agreement, reached today, provides a framework to resolve the issues that arose when Kodak, EBP's owner, operator and largest employer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of 2012. They included uncertainties about how EBP would be managed, how its environmental liabilities would be addressed and who would operate a utility network serving 35 companies that employ more than 6,000 people. The agreement is subject to bankruptcy court approval.
"These important activities all combine to provide the right answer at the right time, serving the public and community interests in protecting the environment and strengthening economic development initiatives, while also facilitating Kodak's emergence from Chapter 11 by helping the company to fairly resolve its legacy liabilities," said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Recognizing EBP's critical importance to the region's economy, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) rated the stabilization and growth of EBP their number one priority. Governor Cuomo immediately deployed a team of top aides, led by Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy, to work with Kodak, local elected officials and business leaders on an agreement that would ensure EBP's long-term growth and future prosperity.
"As the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council's number one priority and one of Governor Cuomo's priorities for Upstate New York, this is truly a very exciting step in the right direction," said Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy. "We have worked nonstop to guarantee a bright future for Eastman Business Park, and this agreement is a fantastic step towards that goal. I commend Governor Cuomo for spearheading this agreement, and congratulate members of the FLREDC and all at Kodak for their tireless efforts to ensure the success of Eastman Business Park."
The agreement reached today has three major components:
Establishment of a $49 million Environmental Trust Fund (ETF). Fully funded by Kodak, and managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, upon approval of Kodak's reorganization plan, the trust will be used to provide ongoing environmental remediation at the Park and Genesee River into the future -- including an extension of all current protections. The creation of the ETF offers Kodak, existing EBP property owners, and future prospective purchasers of EBP assets, protection from historic liabilities, thus paving the way for future business growth and investment.
New Utility Owner/Operator at EBP. The agreement reached today is another step in authorizing Recycled Energy Development (RED), a company specializing in industrial-scale energy efficiency, to assume ownership and operating responsibilities for all EBP utilities. RED is proposing to take over responsibility for the entire EBP utilities infrastructure and continue to supply electricity, steam, water, refrigeration, compressed air, and nitrogen, as well as treat wastewater for EBP tenants and property owners, including Kodak, who will continue to enjoy reliable and economical utility services -- another critical step in the collective efforts to revitalize the Park.
Kodak to maintain key operations at EBP. Kodak has committed to maintaining a critical mass of their operations at EBP. This includes a variety of advanced manufacturing operations, in addition to the Kodak Technical Center, the company's largest worldwide center for advanced-technology research and development. In addition, Kodak intends to enter into leases at EBP with two businesses which it plans to sell within the Chapter 11 proceedings.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, "This agreement not only establishes a fund to deal with any environmental issues that may exist on this site, it also resolves important questions with respect to Kodak's emergence from Chapter 11 and preserves Eastman Business Park as a premier destination for new and growing businesses. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Duffy for their continued leadership on economic development and the dedication to supporting and strengthening this great regional asset."
Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards said, "Eastman Business Park is a key asset for Rochester and a vehicle for growth for our local economy. For the businesses currently occupying the Park, this agreement will assure their long-term viability. The agreement will also serve as a catalyst for attracting new or expanding businesses seeking to take advantage of the infrastructure and amenities the Park offers. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for understanding that the Eastman Business Park is a fundamental building block for our region's economic growth and for working with us to make this agreement possible."
FLREDC Co-Chairs Joel Seligman and Danny Wegman said, "The announcement today regarding Eastman Business Park is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the leadership and tenacity of Governor Cuomo, Lt. Governor Duffy, Mayor Richards, Assemblyman Morelle, and countless other individuals who worked tirelessly to resolve these issues. The preservation and strengthening of Eastman Business Park is the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council's top priority and the agreement announced today will better enable the Park to become what we believe will be one of the nation's premier centers of technological innovation."
Mark S. Peterson, President & CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise said, "Now that these key issues surrounding Eastman Business Park have been resolved, we will be able to recruit even more new businesses to this industrial site. The infrastructure available at Eastman Business Park, from on-site rail and laboratory space to wastewater treatment services, makes this an attractive and cost competitive site for business expansion and growth."
Giovanni LiDestri, owner of LiDestri Foods, a food and beverage manufacturer and significant employer at Eastman Business Park said, "Those of us with operations at the EBP, along with the entire Rochester Business community, are very appreciative and grateful for the State's foresight in acting aggressively to support a comprehensive long term solution to the ongoing viability of the EBP. Without this support, the impact on Rochester's business climate would have been tragic."
Kevin Hobert, CEO, Carestream Health, an EBP business and one of the largest employers in the greater Rochester area said, "I would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor Robert Duffy for their leadership in creating a sustainable solution for the Eastman Business Park. The long term viability of the EBP is critical to our business and to the Upstate economy. Resolution of the many potential issues, including utilities services and environmental liabilities, could not have been achieved without the leadership of the Governor's Office."
Tom Casten, Chairman of Recycled Energy Development LLC said, "Recycled Energy Development welcomes today's agreement as another step in authorizing RED's ownership of the utilities at Eastman Business Park. We look forward to providing reliable and economical utility services that will cut greenhouse-gas emissions, revitalize the Park, and bring economic development and jobs to the region."
About Eastman Business Park: Eastman Business Park is unique, multi-use advanced manufacturing and research center in Rochester, N.Y. This 1,200 acre campus encompasses over 100 buildings, 2.5 million square feet of space, and over 50 miles of integrated roads and rail. Often referred to as a "city within a city,' EBP possesses a self-generated utility infrastructure, plus bench top to prototype analytical tools and equipment supporting the acceleration to commercialization of clean technology products in the materials science space. Home to 35 companies that employ more than 6,000 people, EBP is one of Rochester's most significant centers for employment.