IBM opens first phase of downtown Innovation Center

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Another piece of the “Buffalo Billion” seems to be falling into place, as IBM cut the ribbon Friday morning on its new “Innovation Center”, in downtown Buffalo.

Top state officials joined IBM executives to officially open the IBM Buffalo Innovation Center (IBIC), a $55 million project, and will become the anchor tenant of the new Buffalo Information Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub.

Right now, IBM has 11 employees setting up the framework for the Innovation Center in temporary quarters at Fountain Plaza, and they will eventually move to their permanent offices in another part of the plaza.

The Innovation Center for “Big Blue”, a nickname for IBM, is a project for training IT professionals, develop next generation software, and help draw other high tech firms to the Information Technology Hub.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, said the new IBIC will help keep some of Western New York’s best and brightest on their home turf.

“I am here to announce that the ‘brain drain’ is now stopped. We have figured out the success, and it is opportunities like this.”

Hochul added, “World class businesses like IBM have discovered what we have known for the last few years: that this is the place to be if you want to innovate.”

Michael Cadigan, IBM Microelectonics General Manager, a former Western New Yorker, said he is seeing positive changes in Buffalo.

“The energy, the excitement, and the attitude is very different. Just look out these windows, and see what is happening in what was considered a tired and worthless downtown. This is a different place.”

Officials for IBM predict the Buffalo Innovation Center’s workforce will be up to 50 staffers by the end of the year, and reach their goal of 500 new jobs by the year 2020. The 500-job figure includes, IBM’s partners, suppliers, and contractors.

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