QUEENSBURY - Representatives of the celebrated semiconductor manufacturing plant set for development in Malta spoke to area business and government leaders Friday about their firm's plans, and the latter emerged from the meeting with decisively upbeat predictions for the region's economic future.
During the annual luncheon of the Warren County Economic Development Corporation, Terence Caudell, director of Wafer Manufacturing for GlobalFoundries and Travis Bullard, director of the company's public affairs, gave a presentation on their proposed massive state-of-the-art semiconductor plant. They talked of the plant's technology and of the new jobs that would be created by the plant's initial construction and ongoing operation.
The site clearing for the $4.2 billion plant is expected to begin in several weeks, and local construction expenditures are expected to top $800 million, the GlobalFoundries officials said. Ground-breaking ceremonies are scheduled for this summer, and the first chips should emerge from the plant in late 2011, they said.
When in operation, the plant is expected to generate $290 million in new payroll annually from direct and indirect jobs, WEDC official Mark Behan said when he introduced Caudell and Bullard to the capacity crowd of business and political leaders at the luncheon. The event was held in a banquet room of the Great Escape Water Park Lodge.
The plant is to host the latest technology that will produce the fastest, most complex semiconductor chips at the lowest prevailing cost, Bullard said.
"The plant will feature state-of-the art manufacturing processes - more efficient and with the greatest precision," Bullard said.
The plant will be patterned after an $18 billion GlobalFoundries mega-plant now in operation in Dresden, Germany, Bullard said. The Saratoga plant should feature as its core facility a 300,000-square-foot clean-room manufacturing building.
When in operation, the plant should produce up to 35,000 complex semiconductors - each of which incorporates 100 billion miniscule transistors - every month, he said.
When in full swing, the plant should provide 1,400 good-paying jobs and another 5,000 jobs indirectly as various high-technology support industries spring up in the region, WEDC officials predicted.
After the luncheon, State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said the much-heralded plant would jumpstart the economy regionally, from the Capital Region north, well into the Adirondacks.
"This chip plant is going to do far more for our region's economy than anything we've experienced in the past 50 years," she said. "I'm absolutely excited about the development."
Caudell and WEDC officials said dozens of companies either designing chips or supplying components, or developing new product applications would likely relocate to the region within an hour's drive of the plant.
WEDC President Len Fosbrook said the GlobalFoundries development opened a new era of opportunity for residents of the region, and that's why area property values have remained relatively stable during the past year, bucking the downbeat ecomomic trend experienced recently elsewhere in the U.S.
"This will be transformational for our region's economy," Fosbrook said. "We're moving into a whole new era centering on information technology and businesses related to it - I can see nothing but good news for the future."
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe said at the event that if a maximum-capacity broadband network is developed through the Adirondacks as envisioned by area economic development leaders, a large number of jobs will be created through the southern Adirondacks, boosting the region's economy.
"These high-technology companies are extremely mobile, and their executives, attracted to our high quality of life, will likely set up shop anywhere along the Northway," he said.
GlobalFoundries is a new venture of semiconductor giant Advanced Micro Devices, in a conjunction with Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Co.