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Insero moves to new home as it ramps up its growth

Rochester Business Journal
June 28, 2013

Insero & Co. CPAs P.C. has a new home in the Crossroads Office Building after 10 years at 1 HSBC Plaza and hopes to double its employment in five years.
Rochester's fourth-largest locally based accounting firm opened on the third floor of Crossroads June 17 after shutting down at HSBC Plaza on Chestnut Street June 14.
Insero & Co. employs 75 in Rochester and in Corning, where it opened an office last summer. Its staff of 42 local CPAs ranks sixth overall on the Rochester Business Journal's most recent list of CPA firms.
"We're in a growth mode," Managing Partner Nancy Catarisano said. "We're hoping to double the size of the firm in the next five years through additional services to our clients."
Insero & Co. entered the Corning market last August with an office on East Market Street. It employs five there.
"We're looking to fill that as well, so it's not all in Rochester," Catarisano said of the job growth.
The company also recently added a service line for federal contract compliance, she said.
"We're also trying to add in that area to help people that have federal contracts stay in compliance so they can retain that business," she said. "We're looking for additional service offerings to existing clients."
Catarisano became managing partner Oct. 1. She had been chief operating officer since December 2008. Firm founder Frank Insero transitioned from managing partner to CEO then.
"Nancy is an outstanding individual," Insero said, "and somebody I felt comfortable turning the day-to-day running of the firm over to. I wanted to do it while I was still active. In the event that she needed some mentoring, I would still be there."
Catarisano took on some day-to-day operations as COO. She will run the practice as managing partner, Insero said.
"I'm focusing primarily on business development," he said. "I also have a number of large clients that are requiring more and more of my time. Lastly, I was in charge of our wealth strategies practice, and I was spending more and more time on that.
"I don't anticipate leaving the firm anytime soon. It's just a normal part of life. It's good to have some new thinking, some new blood. Nancy was my choice to succeed me, and it's been working out very well so far."
Insero & Co., founded in 1973, is the latest company to leave the 21-story HSBC building, which lost its namesake tenant in May 2012 when local executives of HSBC Bank USA N.A. and its commercial banking team relocated from the fifth floor to leased space in the Clinton Square Building on South Clinton Avenue.
"Over the years, the HSBC building has had a lot of vacant space," Catarisano said. "There's been a lot of people moving out."
The remaining tenants include building owner Benderson Development Co. LLC on the 11th floor, CPA firm Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP on the 12th floor, the local office of the Social Security Administration on the 14th floor, law firm Hiscock & Barclay LLP on the 20th floor and Clear Channel Communications Inc. on the 17th floor.
Insero & Co. moved to the HSBC building in 2003 from offices in the Midtown Tower. In addition to the 15th floor, the company leased a portion of the 16th.
"Our lease was up, so we started looking," Catarisano said. "We are committed to downtown. It was never a question of us not staying downtown.
"We're committed to being in the hub, and to the vibrancy of the city. We had a lot of people approach us to move to the outskirts, and it's not something we chose to do. We like to be around all the attorneys, the bankers, just more of the activity going on in the city."
At Crossroads, the firm is also leasing a portion of the fourth floor.
"We have one and one-half floors here, but we have the option to expand," Catarisano said. "We could have done the same thing there (at HSBC Plaza), but it was very big, built-in cubicles.
"With the new technology today, we were able to come here and fit a lot more people with movable cubicles. We can hotel people and buy the latest cubicle structures that we can reconfigure and make bigger and smaller."
The 15-story Crossroads building, on State Street at Main Street, was constructed in 1969. Tenants include law firms Trevett Cristo Salzer & Andolina P.C.; Woods, Oviatt, Gilman LLP; and Chamberlain, D'Amanda, Oppenheimer & Greenfield LLP.
"There's so much more action and a lot more within walking distance," Catarisano said, citing Corn Hill to the south of the Four Corners and High Falls to the north. "There's just a lot more here.
"There are a lot of attorneys in this building. We had a great relationship with Mengel. We're going to continue that. But it doesn't hurt to be in a building with multiple law firms and on the corner with multiple law firms."
Constructed in 1970 and renovated in 1999, the HSBC Plaza features Class A office space ranging from 1,093 square feet to 40,878 square feet, data on the Rochester Downtown Development Corp. website show. Parking is available for 560 vehicles in an underground garage and at surface lots.
The property originally was named Marine Midland Plaza, with the erstwhile Buffalo-based bank occupying 11 of the 21 floors prior to its acquisition by HSBC. Benderson acquired it from Rochester Office Park Ltd., a Manhattan-based partnership led by developer and real estate investor Richard Cohen, in March 1995.
In conjunction with the sale, Marine Midland Bank N.A. reduced its presence in the plaza to 50,000 square feet from 170,000.
Benderson spent $6 million to upgrade the plaza, renovating the 300-space parking garage-where only 75 spaces had been usable-and the exterior.
"That building was getting pretty scarce," Catarisano said, "so we decided to come to a building that was filling up and was getting more tenants."
Benderson officials did not return a call for comment regarding the status of 1 HSBC Plaza.
Insero & Co.'s move to the Crossroads building was smooth, Catarisano said.
"Everybody boxed up their cubicles, and the moving company moved us over the weekend," she said last week. "We had a small glitch, but we had a backup Internet line so we were able to be operational."

6/28/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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