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GlobalFoundries Eyes R&D Center; Second Chip Fab on Hold—For Now

GlobalFoundries wants to locate its R&D center close to its chip-fabrication plant

July 08, 2011

The computer-chip manufacturer wants to build a technology center here even though it was unable to reach a deal last week on a state incentive package that would have helped finance the construction of a second chip plant in Saratoga County.

GlobalFoundries is building a $4.6 billion computer chip factory in Malta that is set to begin production next year and will employ up to 1,600 people.

“It makes sense to build a tech center close to where production is occurring,” said Mike Russo, GlobalFoundries’ director of government affairs.

The company already has 20 research engineers working at the $7 billion College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering complex at the University at Albany.

Company spokesman Travis Bullard said GlobalFoundries needs to expand research activities to offer more services and expertise to its customers and experiment with new technology. GlobalFoundries is a contract chip manufacturer with more than 150 customers.

“It’s hard to handicap how and when the plans [for the tech center] will shape up,” Bullard said.

Less than a week ago, Russo said GlobalFoundries would invest money to expand plants in Germany and Singapore after it was unable to negotiate a state incentive package to build a second chip plant in Saratoga County.

The company had a short time frame to consider building a plant that would have been at least as big as the plant it is building in Malta.

“We had a small window for an immediate opportunity that we were not able to reach an agreement on,” Russo said.

Russo said he began talking to state officials about the second plant in April and more serious discussion arose over the past two weeks.

“This is not a missed opportunity. The state did not drop the ball,” Russo said. “We just can’t make it happen here quick enough.”

GlobalFoundries received $1.2 billion in state incentives to build the current plant. Company officials sought a similar incentive package for the second plant, but they would not provide details.

Norm Armour, vice president and general manager of the Malta plant, said he remains optimistic that a second plant will be built in New York. Ideally, a third plant also will be constructed.

The site where GlobalFoundries is building the first plant is approved for three.

“Gigafab sites, that’s the name of the game,” Armour said.

Last Updated: 01/21/2014