Sept. 29--MARCY -- In mid-August, Cuomo administration officials and Steve DiMeo, an economic developer based in Rome, set up a meeting between state officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the campus of the SUNY Institute of Technology in Marcy, a suburb of Utica,
The meeting -- which was attended by staffers of New York's congressional delegation -- was focused on the future of the Marcy Nanocenter, a 400-acre site across the street from SUNY IT that has for years been seeking a computer chip manufacturer.
The Marcy site, perhaps one of the largest in the country designed for computer chip "fabs," had one big problem. The Corps of Engineers refused to approve a wetlands permit application without a tenant in place.
But in a move earlier this month that appeared at first to be a creative solution but now appears to be by design, the Cuomo administration listed the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering as the "tenant" at Marcy Nanocenter.
Under the new application, submitted on Friday, the NanoCollege was named the so-called "end user" in the Corps of Engineers application, paving the way for a wetlands permit.
And in the coming months, following public review of the application, the NanoCollege, in partnership with Mohawk Valley EDGE, of which DiMeo is president, will seek chip companies to occupy up to three "fabs" at the Marcy site. They would be built by the NanoCollege and cost between $10 billion and $15 billion, with a mix of private and public funding.
Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the NanoCollege, said the concept is groundbreaking. It leverages "assets that not only remain under public ownership, but also attract substantially greater private industry investment."
In 2006, the state Legislature approved more than $1 billion in direct subsidies to Advanced Micro Devices, now GlobalFoundries, including $665 million in cash, to build a plant in Malta.
"We're no longer fronting money," Ken Adams, Cuomo's economic development chief said in 2011 about the grant. "There's a lot of lessons we learned from past experience."
The Marcy Nanocenter plan is part of an industry shift New York state anticipated two years ago.
In September 2011, Governor Cuomo announced the Global 450 Consortium, or G450C, a five-year $4.8 billion program by five of the world's largest chip manufacturers to build a pilot chip fab at the NanoCollege to process chips on larger, 450 millimeter silicon wafers, instead of today's standard of 300mm. The consortium, funded by Intel, IBM, Samsung and others, is sharing the costs because doing so on their own would be prohibitly expensive.
In Marcy, the NanoCollege will take the business of building computer chip factories -- or fabs -- out of the hands of chip manufacturers.
The state believes the plan will work because as members of the G450C seek to build their own 450mm fabs, they won't have to look very far down the Thruway to find an available site.
"This doesn't happen without G450C," NanoCollege spokesman Steve Janack said of the school developing the Marcy Nanocenter.
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