BATAVIA – New York State’s plan to invest $225 million in a high-tech green energy campus in South Buffalo should help, not hurt, Genesee County’s similar planned facility, according to the Genesee County Economic Development Center.
Steven G. Hyde, the center’s chief executive officer, said the two should be “complementary, feed off each other” and focus on 21st century technology research and manufacturing capabilities.
A former Republic Steel reclaimed brownfield site in South Buffalo will be home to Silevo, a California-based maker of solar cells, and Soraa, a Chinese producer of light emitting diodes(LEDs) to replace less efficient incandescent lighting.
WNY Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Project (STAMP) is a much larger plan covering 1,200 acres in the town of Alabama. Economic Development Center, with $2 million in recent state loans and grants, has already purchased about two-thirds of the land that is next to the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and federal and state wildlife refuges.
STAMP will concentrate on mega-scale nano-tech manufacturers of semi conductors, flat panel displays and related high-tech products. Next year’s plans are to make the site shovel-ready – utilities and roads – for prospective tenants. The present farmland and wetlands are five miles from a Thruway exit, easily accessible to the Buffalo and Rochester markets.
Hyde recently attended a Semiconductor Industry Association convention to promote STAMP to makers of computer chips. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, has added his efforts by writing to 18 chief executives of computer chip makers. The Alabama site advantages, outlined at the convention, includes access to affordable power, world-class research universities, and a large skilled work force.
Hyde said there was “considerable interest” at the convention in the STAMP presentation and some “promising nibbles” by corporate attendees.
A site-ready site will cost millions but in a few years could employ 1,200 workers. To gain town board approval, the Economic Development Center has promised $10.2 million to finance a town water system and other capital projects.