Last December 8, it was a big deal when the Connecticut-headquartered site development firm National Resources pledged to invest at least $200 million to improve the Town of Ulster former IBM site, attract businesses, and provide up to a thousand new jobs.
It was on August 12 of this year that Zinc8, a leader in battery and energy-storage technology, signed a letter of intent to make the campus, now called iPark87, the home of its first major manufacturing hub. The firm’s operations at that location could create as many as 500 well-paying manufacturing jobs, Zinc8 CEO Ron MacDonald said.
Big news? It’s almost nothing – at the most one dollar of every hundred — compared to what was touted this Tuesday morning in Syracuse as the largest private investment in New York State history. Idaho-based Micron Technology, Inc. said it plans to invest as much as $100 billion over the next 20 years to build a factory near Syracuse to boost American production of memory chips.
The site in Clay, a suburb north of Syracuse, is predicted to generate about 50,000 jobs, including about 9000 Micron positions paying an average annual salary of over $100,000. In return, the company said it expects to get $5.5 billion in incentives from the state over the course of the project.
The so-called megafab chip factory complex, when complete, will include the nation’s largest clean-room space, four 600,000-square-foot spaces for a total of approximately 2.4 million square feet, the size of nearly 40 football fields. If built, that clean-room space would be larger than the entire IBM-Kingston site at its peak.
“Today only two percent of the world’s memory is made here in the U.S.,” said Micron chief executive officer Sanjay Mehrotra, “but we are going to change that.” Mehrotra outlined plans to help grow the US market share to ten percent of the global supply in the next decade.
Micron’s commitment comes after the federal government passed the CHIPS and Science Act in August, providing $52 billion to boost domestic semiconductor research and development.
New York State is currently home to 76 semiconductor companies that employ over 34,000 New Yorkers, including industry leaders like GlobalFoundries, Wolfspeed, onsemi, and IBM. New York is also home to the Albany Nanotech Complex, an advanced publicly owned 300-millimeter semiconductor research and development facility.
“This project is a dramatic turning point for a region that has faced decades of lost manufacturing jobs,” said U.S. senator Chuck Schumer, who sponsored the legislation providing federal incentives for chip-making and other high-tech facilities, “and, in combination with New York’s already robust microchip industry from the Hudson Valley, Albany, and the Mohawk Valley to Binghamton, Rochester, and Buffalo, it will put upstate New York on the map in a way we haven’t seen in generations.”
An economic impact study by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) concluded that over the course of the first 31 years of operations the project will create on average, nearly 50,000 jobs in New York State. It’ll be one of the largest construction projects in North America, with construction spending of $31 billion and 5600 related construction jobs on average at federal prevailing wage for the initial 20 years.
President Joe Biden is expected to visit IBM in Poughkeepsie on Thursday to talk about jobs in the region, according to multiple news reports.