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GlobalFoundries finalizes purchase of 800 acres in Saratoga County

An entrance to the GlobalFoundries plant in Malta
Lucas Willard
An entrance to the GlobalFoundries plant in Malta

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries has finalized its purchase of 800 acres in Saratoga County next to its existing chip fab and global headquarters. However, the company says plans for building a second fab are contingent on federal funding that could be impacted in the ongoing debt ceiling debate.

GlobalFoundries announced the purchase on Wednesday. The company now owns all available land within the Luther Forest Technology Campus in the towns of Malta and Stillwater.

The company said in a press release:

“With this additional land, GF has the flexibility to add manufacturing capacity and expand its footprint in New York in alignment with customer demand, and provide space for further development with its ecosystem partners. The rate and pace of GF’s expansion in Malta will be aligned with market conditions, customer commitments, and U.S. federal funding from the CHIPS and Science Act.”

Steven Grasso, managing director of global government relations at GlobalFoundries, said the purchase “also represents GF’s long-term commitment to New York and growing the semiconductor ecosystem that supports both GF's world-class manufacturing facility in Malta and the regional semiconductor cluster envisioned by the CHIPS Act.”

GlobalFoundries has been considering building a second chip-fab at the Luther Forest site, anticipating federal funding in the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

Todd Kusnierz, Chair of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors and Republican Town Supervisor of Moreau, welcomed the land purchase announcement.

“What it does is it reaffirms their commitment to Saratoga County. And I think, quite honestly, it paints a positive forecast for economic development in this area,” said Kusnierz.

Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, says the purchase does not mean the company will be expanding right away.

“I don't believe this means anything's imminent other than they finally got this deal done. And that, at least, positions them, you know, when the time's right and they've got everything from the federal and state government worked out, to make a, hopefully, an investment,” said Shimkus.

Federal spending on high-tech manufacturing could be impacted by ongoing debt ceiling negotiations in Congress. The “Limit, Save, Grow Act” would raise the debt ceiling but cut billions in domestic spending.

Speaking with reporters this week, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the House plan eliminates tax credits for advanced manufacturing and cuts spending for workforce training programs.

“Look, we can't make progress in making Central New York and upstate New York a tech manufacturing hub if we can't chain train our workers. And these companies, if they can't get the workers, it means those jobs go back overseas, and yet this House plan slashes those kinds of dollars. My dream and goal of making upstate New York a center of chip manufacturing and high-tech manufacturing would be gone,” said Schumer.

Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko of New York’s 20th District is also concerned about the Republican majority’s proposal and its impact on the industry.

“If you start cutting back on investment tax credit revenue streams and production tax credit streams, they were the major impact positive impact in the 117th session of Congress last year. And so that would really hurt our local economy,” said Tonko.

In a statement Wednesday, House GOP Conference Chair and 21st District Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said the Republican debt ceiling bill “sends a clear message to President Biden” to “come to the table to the table to negotiate.”

Stefanik said the bill will “tackle the debt ceiling, stop excessive federal spending and inflation, and put our country back on track for sustained economic growth.”

Schumer says the bill is “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Republican Kusnierz does not believe Congress is making a misstep in its debt ceiling strategy.

“I think Congress is doing the appropriate thing. I mean, we need to get spending under control at the national and federal level. However, you know, anytime you look to cut spending, you also prioritize where that spending is going to take place. And it's clear that the semiconductor industry and what it means to the region, national defense, the economy overall, is a priority. So, I have the utmost confidence that the necessary funding is going to be there,” said Kusnierz.

GlobalFoundries employs approximately 2,500 workers at its Saratoga County site. It made the Malta location its global headquarters two years ago.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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