Expectations are high for soon-to-open AIM Photonics Center

The AIM Photonics Center in Rochester should be ready to open this summer. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The AIM Photonics Center in Rochester should be ready to open this summer.

The opening will come three years after Rochester was named as the hub for National Photonics Research.

The project has not been without delays, but on Friday, that did not prevent leaders in the photonics industry from showing off their progress.

Two floors of a former Kodak building on Lake Avenue have been renovated to house the nearly-completed AIM Photonics headquarters.

Approximately $30 million in taxpayer money has been used to prepare it; another $30 million is in the works.

The nerve center of AIM Photonics is in the clean room, whether designs will be developed into prototypes. Projects including the technology to allow self-driving cars to better see the road could see their dreams come to reality here.

Eleven companies have expressed an interest so far in using the facilities on Lake Avenue.

"When you have customers starting to line up before you open, it builds confidence in the project that this was money well spent," said Ed White, Corporate Outreach Executive for AIM Photonics.

In 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined then-Vice President Joe Biden at Monroe Community College to announce the decision to bring the national hub to Rochester. The hub would be paid for with $110 million in federal funding and $250 million in state funding.

The project has been waylaid along the way with some vocal skeptics. But with visible progress these days, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said the skepticism is far from warranted.

"They're going to get their money's worth," Slaughter announced to a gathered crowd Friday at the AIM Photonics site.

"It's not an exaggeration to say this is one of the most exciting projects in the country," said John Maggiore, New York State Director of Policy.

Now with millions of dollars in taxpayer money and lofty promises, the public should soon see if the technology that has so much potential will help to move the Rochester economy forward.

So far, five people have been hired to work at AIM Photonics. More are being sought.

The grand opening is expected to come some time this summer.

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