VICTOR, N.Y. (WROC) — Constellation Brands is moving its headquarters from Victor to downtown Rochester, and taking hundreds of jobs with it.
According to Victor Town Supervisor Jack Marren, Constellation will move its headquarters from the Ontario County town to the Aqueduct Building on East Broad Street in Rochester. Gov. Kathy Hochul is scheduled to make a formal announcement about this move at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Rochester.
Constellation Brands produces and markets beers and wines out of its Victor headquarters. The company has also been investing in a Canadian marijuana company called Canopy Growth for years.
Beginning in 1945 as an Upstate New York wine producer, it’s now the fastest-growing large consumer product retail goods company in the U.S. Currently headquartered locally, the global company has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Mexico City, Napa, San Antonio, New Zealand, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Canada, and more. The Fortune 500 company is publicly traded, and reports billions of dollars in revenue each year.
While a celebratory development for downtown Rochester, folks in Victor are left wondering “what’s next?”
For Supervisor Marren, he summed up the move in two words, “disappointed” and “surprised.” He says this is going to be a big hit, and not just for Victor, but for Ontario County as a whole. He says Constellation’s change will be a direct economic for the drain, but will also have a secondary economic impact.
Marren says there will be 350 less workers getting gas, grabbing coffee, eating lunch, or going to Eastview Mall in Victor. Marren says he spoke with developers about expanding Constellation’s operations at the current sight before the pandemic hit. He said, in his words, it would “really make” Victor their corporate headquarters with individuals from Chicago and California coming to the town.
However, the pandemic shelved a lot of those plans and Constellation was slow to return to the table, as leadership in the company also shifted.
The announcement on the move to Rochester caught Marren off guard, but he says at the end of the day he’s still forever grateful for the Sands family and the work they have done to benefit the region, adding that it was simply a business decision and he can respect that.
In Rochester, restaurants like ‘Native’ could see a big uptick in foot traffic. Owner Ross Mueller says downtown very much needs this.
“It’s great for everybody, it’s great for convenience stores, gas stations, it’s everybody,” he says. Life returning— a ‘Rochester Renaissance’ If you will— is something Mueller says he is proud to be a part of.
“I would love to see the city bustling again like we saw so much, well some people saw, in the Kodak and Xerox days, I wasn’t here for it,” says Muller.
Rich Calabrese of the Times Square building says the new foot traffic is much needed. “That’s just terrific. We need it, downtown needs it. We’ve got our problems right now, but we’re going to bounce. We’ll bounce,” he says.
T’s Times Square Cafe right now is seeing a steady lunchtime trickle of customers. But down the road when Constellation comes, “I can’t express how awesome that would be. Downtown needs it more than anything,” says owner ‘T’ Kasandrindros.
The good news for Victor, according to Marren, is that Constellation isn’t leaving right away, so there is still time to adjust.
“So actually, they still have a lease obligation up until 2024, so we have them for two more years,” Marren told News 8 Wednesday. “I did speak to Fred Rinaldi Jr. and he assured me that he and his uncle and his father will continue to work, and they will come up with a ‘Class A’ new company that we will be introducing, certainly within the next couple of years.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.