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News10NBC investigates: 4 years ago VP Biden was the visitor, today...a wild turkey

June 26, 2019 06:17 PM

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Four years ago, the former vice president of the United States came to the hottest piece of property in Rochester. 

But wait until you see it now. There are no jobs in the building, the owner pays virtually no taxes, but there are tons of weeds. 

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So News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean went to the property in Greece to find out what's going on. 

When News10NBC arrived at 115 Canal Landing Boulevard just off Ridgeway Avenue in Greece, there was a wild turkey walking past the front door of the building. When Joe Biden was here in 2015, the community was promised 5,000 jobs working on the technology of the future. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden toured what was supposed to be the home of AIM Photonics, the brain center of the new technology. 

"And I can think of no more promising place to do it than here in Rochester," Biden said in July of 2015. 

Now, the building is empty, the doors are locked and the weeds are overgrown. 

"Unfortunately, that's all that's left here. And that's all that's been left here for several years," Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich said. 

The building is tucked away in a sprawling technology park in Greece. The building is owned by SUNY Poly, the high-tech college of the state. Reilich says he's talked to SUNY and told them, "Sell it. If you're not going to use it, release it."
  
News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "When you say that to them, they say what to you?"

Bill Reilich, Greece town supervisor: "No response. Silence."

We'll fix that in a moment. 

But first, here's the problem for you. Reilich and News10BC went through the tax payments. In 2013, when SUNY Poly bought the building from Kodak for one dollar, it paid more than $29,276.69 in taxes. SUNY Poly got it labeled not-for-profit. 

Last year, it paid $2,472.87 in taxes and that was to the fire and sewers districts. County tax records show SUNY Poly paid no property tax to the Town of Greece, Greece schools or Monroe County. 

But here's the fix we promised. While News10NBC was at the building, we got a statement emailed to us from SUNY Poly and read it to the supervisor. 

Brean: "And it says, "the building is currently being prepared for sale. We expect the RFP to be issued in the near future." When you hear that?"

Reilich: "It's good news. I hope that is accurate and hope it goes forward as they're expressing themselves. Spruce it up. Put it on the market. That's the best news I've heard."

AIM Photonics moved into another old Kodak building on Lake Avenue in Rochester. The assessed value of the original building in Greece is $4.6 million. Without any tax breaks, the owner should be paying more than $112,000 in taxes just to Greece schools. 

News10NBC will keep our eye on this pending sale. 

Credits

Berkeley Brean

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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