#154 Sep 23, 2013
Adam SichkoReporter- The Business Review|
Whoever was looking to build a massive electronics factory with 1,000 initial jobs—possibly in New York—has shelved those plans.
That's the word I'm getting from economic development officials in Oregon, which is among the states competing with New York for the mystery manufacturing plant, code-named Azalea.
The multibillion-dollar investment would be a marquee project fortifying the "Tech Valley" brand that business leaders in the Capital Region are trying to foster.
It would be the second high-tech coup for the area, which already recruited GlobalFoundries Inc. to move in and make computer chips. Analysts believe Azalea is a similar facility, making chips that could operate anything from smartphones to TVs and other electronic devices.
Let's rewind for a moment.
One year ago this month, the Paris, France, office of global consulting firm Deloitte was calling on developers in as many as four U.S. states: New York, Oregon, Texas and Arizona.
Site visits, on behalf of Deloitte's unidentified client, followed in October 2012—including two locations in the Capital Region, and a third one hour west, in Utica (a second-fiddle site now poised for a revival of its own).
I broke the news of that site search, and The Business Review remains the only media outlet with confidential Deloitte documents detailing how huge the factory would be.(Hint: In many ways, it would eclipse GlobalFoundries).
Now, officials in Oregon tell me whoever is behind Azalea has hit the pause button.
"We continue to work on the recruitment effort though, for now, it is on hold due to market conditions," says Marc Zolton, a spokesman for Business Oregon, which is that state's economic development arm.
Tim McCabe, who runs Business Oregon, told much the same thing to The Oregonian.
Those public remarks reinforce what my industry sources have been telling me.
In its confidential documents, Deloitte lays out an aggressive calendar, in which "real estate discussions" were supposed to have concluded seven months ago, in February.
My sources say it's now clear the Azalea search was an effort by the mystery company to do its homework—to be prepared whenever the economy and its clients are primed for it.
Those sources say they aren't aware if Deloitte has ruled in, or ruled out, any states. My attempts to reach Olaf Babinet, a Deloitte senior manager who is leading the search, have not been returned.
A spokesman for Ken Adams, who runs New York's economic development arm, declined to make him available for an interview.
The plant specs in the Deloitte documents fit the mold of a computer-chip factory, based on a range of factors including the size (3.2 million square feet) and water usage (4.2 million gallons a day at peak).
What remains a mystery: Who is behind Azalea, and what led to the site-search slowdown?
Any number of factors could be at play. Expected new business could have failed to materialize. Deloitte's client could also have decided for further exploration of the next-generation way of making computer chips, something now being studied at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, in Albany.
It takes three or four years to build one of these high-tech factories. Doing this legwork now will provide real savings, shaving months off the process whenever (or if) it comes time to commit.
GlobalFoundries just finished doing much the same thing with the town of Malta. The company has obtained all necessary approvals to go ahead and build a second computer-chip factory next to the one already in operation there.
GlobalFoundries still has not publicly committed to construction.
National Grid's top regional executive, Bill Flaherty, tells me the utility is studying the specs for that potential second factory, to determine what extra work would need to be done if it becomes reality.
#155 Sep 23, 2013
More tech jobs to utica! Lol
#156 Sep 24, 2013
It's Cretin Dave above. He eats azzzz for a living. Lol.
#157 Sep 24, 2013
People in Washington state are nervous! Lol
#158 Sep 24, 2013
This nano tech plant is totally dead on arrival. Its not going to happen. Its old news. In about a month or two, WKTV and the OD will have breaking news on the death of the nano tech dream.
#159 Sep 24, 2013
No they won't cretin!!! Lol
#160 Sep 24, 2013
"I actually used to earn more when I worked in Utica."
#161 Sep 25, 2013
Interesting article. This reflects the volatility of this market I guess. Or, it could be the manufacturer holding out for a better deal on the backs of taxpayers.
I was thinking about what it would cost for a facility this size and how that cost would differ depending on where it was built. Here in labor union dominated New York the cost has to be outrageous when compared with what it would cost in right-to-work Texas for instance. That's probably the reason that the taxpayers (taxpayer funded CNSE-SUNY) are going to have to foot the bill for the building.
Remember that it's not the mystery company that is putting up the building so the fact that they've slowed their due diligence doesn't mean as much. It's New York State(taxpayers) putting the building up.
#162 Sep 25, 2013
Funny how this "story" just died. Lol
#163 Sep 25, 2013
It's Cretin Dave Smith above. He sells used cars and sux azzz for a living! Lol.
#164 Sep 25, 2013
It is odd isn't it? Lol
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