One of the largest companies in Saratoga County could be expanding, as local officials work to develop a new economic plan for the region.
At a meeting Monday evening, the Malta Town Board voted unanimously to approve zoning legislation to allow GlobalFoundries, a computer chip manufacturer, to expand by building a second facility.
The company had been working with the town since it submitted its proposal for the 575,000 square-foot Fab 8.2 project last winter.
Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said that since construction began on Global Foundries’ first Fab-8 facility in 2010, economic benefits have been seen in numerous sectors.
"Our manufacturing payroll has increased significantly to the tune of almost $170 million a year," said Shimkus. "Our private sector income across the whole spectrum of the private sector has increased about 8 percent."
Shimkus said that growth associated with Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Technology, General Electric, and GlobalFoundries has led Saratoga County to buck many national economic trends since 2010, including a stronger recovery in the housing market and growth in small business.
Tim Harper, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Management and Business at Skidmore College, says expansion of a business like GlobalFoundries will also draw the attention of competing companies.
"Sort of the way to think about it is that competitors are making these decisions long term and short term," said Harper. "So what I would anticipate is that the response to many of GlobalFoundries' strategic moves among competitors would be in the short term to respond in the marketplace."
Harper says, competing businesses with manufacturing facilities in other areas may also bring researchers and other services to the area.
John Lawler, Supervisor of the Town of Waterford and chair of the Saratoga County Economic Development Committee, said he’d like to see more done to attract additional businesses to the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta, where GlobalFoundries is located.
"Should another chip maker be interested in siting another facility in the United States, we want the Luther Forest park to be one of the top considerations that they have," said Lawler.
Currently, the Saratoga County Economic Development Committee is on the lookout for a consultant to help develop a new economic development plan for the county. Lawler said that any such plan should also consider the other vital sectors in Saratoga County including agriculture and tourism.
"We want to take stock in what we have and take stock in what we want," said Lawler.
Global Foundries has not yet made a public announcement of new projects for the site, but the agreement with Malta does open more doors for the company to expand. The Town of Stillwater is must also take up zoning legislation before any expansion work can begin.