Empire State Development Announces High-End Furniture Company Arbr Studios Opens New Location in Rochester At Artist Albert Paley’s Former Studio

March 3, 2021

Expansion Will Allow Company to Create and Retain up to 45 Jobs

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that high-end furniture maker Arbr Studios has expanded its operations in the City of Rochester, Monroe County. The company recently moved into a renovated 40,000 square-foot facility located on Lyell Avenue at Canalside Business Center-space that was formerly occupied by renowned artist Albert Paley until his retirement in 2019. Arbr Studios last year secured an international contract to supply their expert cabinetry and mill work products which helped to fuel the company’s expansion. 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and CEO & Commissioner-designate Eric Gertler said, "Seeing the potential to transform an artist’s studio into space supporting a creative company’s expansion reflects our strategic vision for economic growth. With this new facility, Arbr Studios will not only continue to build high-end furniture, but also jobs and opportunity in both Rochester and the Finger Lakes region."

ESD is assisting Arbr Studios with the company’s continued growth with up to $400,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Due to the major expansion, Arbr Studios expects to hire up to 26 new employees;19 employees will be retained.  The total project cost was a little more than $1.3 million. Monroe County, Greater Rochester Enterprise and Rochester Gas & Electric also assisted with the expansion.

Arbr Studios COO Daniel Fallon said, “Our move to Albert Paley’s former studio was both strategic and poetic.  After working with Albert for the last few years on various projects and recognizing how well suited the space would be for our growing business, it just felt right to consider relocating and continuing the creative legacy within these walls after his retirement.  The tax credits provided by Empire State Development, as well as help from Monroe County, Greater Rochester Enterprise, and Rochester Gas and Electric, definitely made the decision easier to make.  We are proud to represent Rochester as a destination for creative entrepreneurial job creation.”

In addition to the new Rochester facility, Arbr Studios also operates a location in the Town of Leroy, Genesee County under the name Icon Design. That facility serves as the exclusive manufacturer for the Wendell Castle Collection. Arbr Studios was founded in 2012 as Zeller Woodworks and manufactures high-end furniture and cabinetry.

State Senator Jeremy A. Cooney said, “Albert Paley is a titan of modern art, and our region has been greatly improved by his work. His art moved me greatly and reminded us all about the importance of public art. I am pleased to hear that ARBR Studios will be taking over his old studio on Lyell Ave, and hope that they can channel his creative energy. This will bring much needed jobs to Rochester and continue to establish the Finger Lakes region as a destination for entrepreneurs.”

State Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, "A warm welcome to Arbr Studios, and congratulations on their expansion. What a perfect way to amplify artistry while simultaneously creating jobs and opportunities. Arbr Studios' investment in the economic development of Rochester is an investment in the future of our communities. With this new development, we can rise and thrive together."

County Executive Adam Bello said, “Arbr Studios’ move into a larger, newly renovated space is a testament to their commitment to growth and the Monroe County community. This move will provide jobs to the area, as well as continue the expansion of one of our area’s leaders in the high-end furniture industry. I would like to issue a special thank you to Empire State Development, Greater Rochester Enterprise and RG&E for their support and assistance of this move.”

Rochester Mayor Lovey A. Warren said, “I am happy to welcome Arbr Studios to Rochester and thank them for their investment in our city that demonstrates the economic benefits of supporting artists and artisans, as we’re doing by including an Arts Equity Fund in our Equity and Recovery Agenda. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for helping this incredible company choose Rochester for its expansion and bringing new jobs to our city through Finger Lakes Forward. Together, we are moving forward to create more jobs; safer, more vibrant and affordable neighborhoods; and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”

Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise said, “The abundance of exceptional industrial design professionals available here made Rochester the right choice for Arbr Studios' expansion. Companies like Arbr Studios are also putting Rochester on the map for the high-end millwork fabrication industry.”

Joseph M. Rizzo, Manager, Economic Development for NYSEG and RG&E said, “Today is an exciting day as we welcome Arbr Studios as part of the Rochester business community. Our Finger Lakes region is poised for growth, and RG&E is proud to be a strategic partner in helping to support Arbr Studios’ business growth and expansion within our community. Through our economic development programs, RG&E provided support for new electric infrastructure upgrades at Arbr Studios’ new Lyell Avenue location. In addition, RG&E provided assistance to Arbr Studios for growth and productivity initiatives to help them remain competitive in the global marketplace. We wish them continued success.”

For additional information regarding Arbr Studios, click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

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