Downtown’s Commissary kitchen incubator begins construction
The Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator has officially kicked off construction on its food business incubator and shared kitchen facility. Located at Sibley Square, the $2 million project will involve the transformation of 6,500 square-feet of space inside the former department store into a commercial grade kitchen facility where food entrepreneurs can launch and grow their businesses.
Members will be able to rent time in the kitchen on an hourly basis and gain access to food industry workshops, mentoring, training, and business support services. Commissary officials estimate that more than half of their member businesses will be women owned and more than a third will be minority owned. In fact, more than 150 local food entrepreneurs have already expressed interest in the projects shared kitchen and incubation services. The Commissary is expected to open in the Spring of 2020.
“The Commissary food business incubator adds to the entrepreneurial energy of Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone, which is already home to many talented tech companies that are creating good-paying jobs and further building the Finger Lakes economy,” said Eric Gertler, acting commissioner and president and CEO-designate of Empire State Development.
The Commissary expects to spur the creation of startups including packaged food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, bakeries, caterers, food trucks, virtual restaurants and help legitimize underground food businesses by reducing the otherwise high cost of creating a licensed commercial kitchen. It will also house a Performance Kitchen where startups can promote and sell their products to the public, hold food events, and host cooking classes.
The Commissary is part of the rebirth of the in the refurbished Sibley Square building in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone (DIZ). The former department store and historic landmark is home to commercial, office and residential space and to several companies including Catalant Technologies- and to business incubator NextCorps, the administrator for the Luminate NY competition.
The Commissary project receives support from the state and other sources including a federal grant, WinnCompaines, and from the city of Rochester.