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November 2, 2022 - 7:00am

Interest high in STAMP, Hyde says, with new project announcement possible this month

posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY STAMP, GCEDC, Steve Hyde, news, notify.

With a bit of luck or an answered prayer, there could be an announcement about a new tenant at STAMP in Alabama within the next 30 days, said Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, in an exclusive interview with The Batavian on Monday.

"You know what, we're praying hard that the next one connects, and we've had some real big strides of late, so I'm hoping there'll be something to talk about inside of 30 days," Hyde said.

The suggestion that a deal with some sort of hi-tech firm to build a plant at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park came at the end of an interview where Hyde discussed the interest the park is drawing from semi-conductor companies, the supply chain for those companies, and renewable energy companies.

"Things are moving, the site's market-relevant now," Hyde said. "We're seeing a lot of interest."

The biggest game changer for marketing STAMP, Hyde said, is the CHIPS and Science Act.

The legislation, authored by Sen. Charles Schumer, is intended to increase the production of semiconductors -- computer chips -- in the United States and reduce the reliance in the U.S. on Chinese semiconductors.  It's seen by supporters as a national security issue.

The act provides $52 billion in manufacturing grants and establishes a 25 percent investment tax credit for increasing semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. 

"It is critical, in my view, having lived in this industry for a decade or more, that we really need to do all we can to bring it back," Hyde said. "I applaud Sen. Schumer and a lot of our leaders. That was a bipartisan effort around CHIPS to really make this happen and now we're seeing deals from it."

One of the biggest deals so far, announced last month, is the decision by Micron Technologies to invest $100 billion to build a new plant on 1,300 acres near Syracuse

Far from losing out on that deal, the staff at GCEDC has been busy negotiating with a bevy of companies -- as many as 20 -- about space availability at Genesee County's own 1,200-acre advanced technology campus.  Hyde said there are at least five companies, and perhaps seven, that have at least a 70 percent chance of signing a deal for a facility at STAMP.

"There's a real active sales funnel at STAMP, actually," Hyde said. "It's deeper and wider than I've seen, ever."

Combined, the companies kicking tires represent $40 billion in investments and about 20,000 jobs.

Of course, they won't all fit on the campus, and depending on who eventually signs, we could see anywhere from three to six companies with facilities in the park.

The competitive landscape has shifted since STAMP was first conceived, Hyde said.  He's no longer expecting one major semiconductor company to come in and swoop up all that remains of the STAMP campus.  The project was conceived during a time when semiconductor companies only wanted to locate two or three fabrication operations in a single location, preferring to spread out manufacturing nationally, if not globally.

But as China has grown more competitive, and with the incentives of the CHIPS Act, the major firms are looking for locations that can support six to eight fabrication plants, Hyde said.  STAMP isn't designed to provide the infrastructure necessary to support that size of an operation.

He congratulated the leaders in Onondaga County for being able to put together a plan that will meet Micron's needs.

Ultimately, Micron's presence in Central New York will benefit Genesee County, he said.  It helps create a corridor of semiconductor companies and supply chain companies from Fishkill to Columbus, Ohio, including projects in Utica and Albany, with STAMP just off the I-90 that helps tie it all together.

"Honestly, a lot of these supply chain and semiconductor players like to be nearby for transportation logistics, but they don't necessarily want to be right in the back yard of another firm because of workforce (availability)."

A smaller semiconductor manufacturer might take an interest in STAMP, but Hyde suggested it's more likely that supply chain companies will move in the firms that supply semiconductor manufacturers with their tools and technological support.

"It could become a hub for semiconductor players that maybe don't take the whole campus, but fit in nicely, and it almost becomes like a hub for the semiconductor industry," Hyde said. "We've got some real interest in that, in that space right now." 

There remains high interest among green energy companies because of the renewable power source available at STAMP (Niagara Falls). It helps that Plug Power is already building what will be the nation's largest green hydrogen plant, Hyde said.

There's also a developer from Indiana who is interested in acquiring the southern portion of the STAMP site, and that developer would do some advance builds in order to attract prospective clients.

"They've got a marquee list of vendors," Hyde said.

Hyde is never one to give too much away about the deals the team at GCEDC is working on, but he didn't hide his optimism that good things are coming soon for STAMP.

"It's pretty cool that a dozen years ago, when we really kind of defined the hope and strategy and vision for the site, that those sectors that were the focus then are the hot ones now, with federal incentives really helping drive that interest level like never before," Hyde said.

Photo: File photo of Steve Hyde from 2015 by Howard Owens.

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