Rochester, N.Y. – Could Kodak move out of the iconic tower than bears its name? Kodak is expected to emerge from bankruptcy later this year a much smaller company.
“We don’t know what the future of Kodak office building is,” said Mayor Tom Richards. “The future of Kodak in the tower will be resolved here in about six months or so.”
“I don’t think anybody should be surprised if Kodak says ‘Look, we’re not going to be a part of the tower anymore. We’re going to really, really downsize,’” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
Built in 1913 in the French Renaissance style, the upper floors were added in 1930. Kodak refurbished the façade and restored the sign over the last decade.
“Certainly the building itself is an icon for Rochester,” said Mike Governale, a local history blogger. “It may not be the tallest building in the skyline, but it means a lot to Rochesterians. It’s just a symbol of Rochester’s history and ingenuity, the nerve center of photography.”
In a statement, Kodak spokesman Chris Veronda said, “Kodak has no current plans to vacate its Kodak Office headquarters on State Street.”
But Kodak is unloading other buildings in its State Street complex. Monroe Community College is on the verge of buying several buildings for its downtown campus. A tour of the space showed empty floors and unused offices. MCC would buy more than a half million square feet.
“One way Kodak will stay in the tower is the difficulty in finding someone who wants to buy that building,” said George Conboy, head of Brighton Securities. “If Kodak can’t find another tenant or a buyer, it’s plausible they will stay. But the reality is if they could sell and lease back the building cheaper or sell and move away to someplace cheaper, the likelihood is they’ll do it.”
Conboy does not think Kodak would move its headquarters out of Rochester. He said if Kodak makes a move out of the tower, such a decision would likely be announced upon completion of the bankruptcy.