February 10, 2010

Arsenal Gets A Shot In The Arm

By: by Jessica M. Pasko, The Troy Record


ALBANY - The company building GlobalFoundries' $4.2 billion computer chip factory in Malta is moving its North American headquarters to the Watervliet Arsenal, a move slated to bring 250 new jobs to the area over the next five years.

M+W Group, a nanofabrication facility design and development firm, has announced its plans to move its headquarters from Texas and into the arsenal, where they've operated their regional headquarters since 2004.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined Capital District Assembly delegation members, company officials and leaders of the University of Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to make the official announcement Tuesday.

M+W was selected last year as the general contractor to oversee construction of the microchip production plant in Malta, a 1.3 million-square-foot facility in the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

The move is another step in the plan to continue working to bring high-tech jobs to New York state, said Silver. "M+W has been a critical player in the development of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and is now supervising one of the largest high-tech projects currently underway in the nation."

M+W U.S. CEO and President Rick Whitney said that since the initial investment in 2004, the company has become committed to upstate New York in a partnership with the state Assembly, CNSE and the Watervliet Arsenal.

Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, a Cohoes Democrat, said the company's relocation will propel the Capital Region to the forefront of the global nanotechnology industry.

"It's great news," said Mark Gleason, a spokesman for Watervliet Mayor Michael Manning.

Gleason said the creation of the new jobs will also be good for businesses near the arsenal, as more people will be passing through each day. Investments in the arsenal have already helped create $120 million in annual economic activity, according to the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership's president, Tony Gaetano.

The city's economic development office is also working on renovating some of the city's existing buildings into higher-end apartments and housing, in hopes of encouraging those working in the arsenal to make Watervliet their home.

"We'll have expanded resources available to use here to service the existing plans we have and, hopefully, new plans over the next few years," said Alan Asadoorian, vice-president and director of M+W's Malta project.

He called the Albany area "the center of the universe as it is now in nanotechnology," and said residents should understand what a significant move this is.

M+W Group has constructed chip fabrication facilities throughout the world, including the one at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and the IBM's plant in Fishkill, just outside Poughkeepsie. The company started in Silicon Valley in 1989, before moving to Austin, Texas in 1992 and eventually settling in the Dallas area in 1998.

The company will spend the next five years renovating and expanding the arsenal to fit their needs, said Whitney. The firm is expected to create as many as 250 architectural, engineering and manufacturing positions, and it plans to devote resources to developing women and minority-owned businesses.

The Watervliet Arsenal is one of the oldest military installations in the country, with parts of it dating back to 1813. The Arsenal manufacturing complex sits on a 143-acre site with 72 buildings and over two million square feet of manufacturing space.