$4.4 billion for chip fab research in the state, and more jobs at Albany NanoTech

albany nanotech construction 2011-09-27

The construction at the Albany NanoTech expansion today.

Andrew Cuomo announced today that a consortium of tech companies will be investing $4.4 billion in chip fab research facilities around the state. The Cuomo admin says the research effort will create and/or retain 6,900 jobs -- 800 of them at UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) complex.

You'll recognize many of the names of the corporations involved: Intel, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TSMC and Samsung. Said Cuomo this morning at the NY Open for Business conference at the ESP: "These companies could have gone anywhere on the globe ... they're investing right here in New York."

In addition to Albany NanoTech, there will also be investment at IBM in Fishkill, SUNYIT in Utica, and CNSE's facility in Canandaigua.

The state is putting $400 million toward this effort, which the Cuomo admin says will go directly to CNSE at UAlbany -- and all the tools and equipment will belong to the college.

The research will focus on making computer chips from 450 mm wafers. Current technology uses 300 mm wafers, and the larger size offers the potential of cheaper, faster chips. As an Intel exec told the audience today: "[450 mm] allows us to continue Moore's Law in an economic way."

That CSNE building going up at Washington and Fuller in Albany will house the facilities for this effort, and be called NanoFab West or NanoFab X. UAlbany has been coy about the purpose of that building, maybe because it was sitting on this announcement. It's also expected the expansion will house green energy research, including that $400something million solar panel research consortium. [TU CapCon] [TU Places and Spaces] [TU] [CSNE]

It's probably fair to say Cuomo was stoked this morning. As he crowed at one point during his remarks: "We won a very important competition globally. ... Why? Because we are New York. That's why we won it."


Wake me up when we've got some homegrown private sector development (start ups?).

Until then, I'll continue assuming that this is just yet another corporate welfare "silver bullet" type project paid for with our tax dollars, and not sustainable economic growth that will actually improve the area.

As soon as the public faucet gets turned off these guys are going back to Texas, Asia or wherever.

Ike: you summed up my feelings exactly.

And for the current state fiscal year, the governor and legislature cut billions from public services and still funded part of this private initiative. We know this will produce a private benefit (just look at the governor's and legislature's election campaign contributors).

Let's see if there's any public benefit.

I was there for the announcement and while I drank a lot of koolaid this morning, it seemed like a solid, well thought out plan.

OK Ike, I guess we should move to Texas then...

Creating high tech jobs for the future is unsustainable? I'll take one of those jobs, and you can serve me fries with my burger Mr. Sour Grapes.

@Barold: Whose future?
Those jobs will go to transplants, not locals, and the profits are going to be for private companies, not the public treasury or local start-ups that actually employ local people.

The point of this is for some companies to get a major advantage in their field with taxpayer dollars, provide a tax shelter for these companies, and for politicians to appear to be proactive in job creation.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this billion(s) dollar behemoth still draws money from SUNY at the expense of other things (like foreign languages and the classics), is not subject to independent environmental studies, and pays nothing in taxes despite private profits being made via work conducted onsite.

So again I ask: Whose future?

Its not a question of either/or. Ike, I agree with you that I want to see more innovative start-ups that contribute to Albany's unique character and neighborhoods 100%. What we have with all the Nano development is a remarkable opportunity to create programs, amenities and incentives that work in conjunction with this development to encourage exactly the type of (local) economic blossoming you are talking about.
In order to make this happen we should be looking to our local electeds to provide forward thinking vision. They in turn should be earnest in opening communication with all the parties involved, strongly advocating for the interests of residents.

Again this is an amazing opportunity as a region. Its up to us to seize it.

Cincinatus - that's a very limited and narrow view of how it works. Yes, some employees will be transplants, others will be locals. And yes, a start up would produce more jobs... you see many of those around? Start-ups often are created when ventures of this kind get wings. Finally, NY has to create some incentives for business investment, we are the highest taxed state in the US.

Albany Nano has started high school programs to get LOCAL kids interested in science, HVCC has training programs for people to work at clean room facilities... I don't see how you can think this is a bad thing.

I understand what you guys are saying--but I believe that your view is overly optimistic...

Starting HS programs isn't a bad thing, but mafiosi also paid for kids to get an education. In all seriousness, it is valance to cover billions of taxpayer dollars being directed to an entity that is not accountable to the public and which houses private industries that pay nothing in taxes.

Until you address the accountability and taxation issues, you have legal money laundering: public funds in through the front door, private profits out the back. When the tax-haven status is up, these companies will run for the next lucrative deal, leaving us in the lurch and wondering what happened. It is the essence of the modern American economy.

Yes, let's complain about politicians trying to stimulate economic growth instead of sitting on their hands and doing nothing. Gimme a break. You'd complain either way. And yes its BILLIONS of dollars. This isn't your checking account we're talking about, these are large companies, implementing significant long term projects, in a huge state economy, millions aren't going to cut it.
I totally agree that we need more start-up and entrepreneurial action in Albany and if you scan the Global Foundries job openings, it's clear they're not going to be harvesting locals to fill those slots. Unless there's some other fab that's been operating around here that I'm unaware of... But with those facilities and employment opportunities kids will now have a reason to focus on engineering careers and stay here instead of taking their talents elsewhere. They'll eventually want to start their own spin-offs and hopefully this area will actually walk the talk of "Tech Valley". It'll take time but at least someone's making some creative bets on our future instead of just increasing taxes.

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