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February 11, 2021 - 6:57pm

At first glance, one might think that a major metropolitan area such as Austin, Texas, or Phoenix, Arizona, would have major advantages over the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park – better known as STAMP – when it comes to convincing an international corporation to build a semiconductor facility in the Town of Alabama.

But not so fast, says Steve Hyde, chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, who participated in a video interview with Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, earlier today.

Hyde, when given the opportunity to “sell the STAMP site,” didn’t hesitate -- coming up with several reasons why it would be beneficial for a company such as Samsung, for example, to build a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant at STAMP.

Recent published reports indicated that Samsung was considering STAMP – as well as the Austin and Phoenix areas – for a new semiconductor plant and that the Albany-based Plug Power was planning on operating a “green hydrogen” facility at the Genesee County park.

“STAMP can really compete and they (potential tenants) have got to take a serious look at us,” Hyde said. “That’s why we’re seeing opportunities in a big way right now in the marketplace.”

Hyde backed up that statement by pointing out that STAMP is located between two metropolitan areas (Buffalo and Rochester), has a growing and hungry workforce, and has access to low-cost green energy, and also the fact that New York does not impose “personal property taxes” on manufacturing equipment – a significant savings to these mega companies.

“There are very discreet advantages here in Western New York that you want to seize upon and emphasize,” Hyde said. “And they also need to consider that against some of the challenges in a market that has been a boomtown for 25 years (speaking of Austin) … that you have incredible competition for the workforce there right now.”

He noted that in Austin, the home of Tesla, Oracle, Texas Instruments and Samsung, big companies are competing for the same set of workers.

“Plus, the infrastructure there is overwhelmed and the congestion is crazy. So, there’s some challenges there relative to workforce,” he said. “When you look at us, we’re at a distance of a mile a minute you can literally travel on the highways. And there’s a well-qualified workforce from New York’s second- and third-largest metros. And for the pay rate at STAMP (estimated at $75,000 to $100,000 annually) … those workers will drive 30 to 45 minutes.”

Hyde also said another big advantage is that New York doesn’t charge “personal property taxes.”

“All of the manufacturing equipment in Texas is taxed as personal property taxes. So, when you really look closely at it, we’re going to be really aggressive on the incentive side with the state … and will be far less expensive than Austin because we don’t tax the equipment that will be two-thirds the cost of the project,” he explained.

He also pointed out that this area has good workforce solutions, noting that area colleges, including Genesee Community College, and Genesee Valley BOCES are building degree programs for high-tech industry.

“These big projects that we’re talking about, whether it’s a big renewable project or semiconductor, (they’re) huge power users,” Hyde said. “They want green power and we’ve got the New York Power Authority and we’ve got Niagara Falls less than 30 miles away. We have some of the lowest-cost green energy available in all of North America – like half of what it costs in Austin.

“So, you look at power, you look at operating costs, our labor is about 10 percent cheaper than Austin right now because the market has run up so much. Those factors are a huge part of the cost profile of running an operation like this.”

Hyde’s comments come in the face of a story in the Buffalo-based Investigative Post that indicates Samsung is leaning toward Austin as the site for the microchip factory that would employ about 1,800 people.

According to the Investigative Post report:

  • Austin “appears to have a leg up, as it is already home to Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which has 2,500 employees;
  • Samsung has purchased 250 acres of land next to its existing facility and has applied for zoning variances, and is seeking more than $1 billion in incentives to build there. It quoted Nate Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying Samsung’s odds of expanding there are “north of 90 percent.”
  • Roger Kay, a market analyst with Boston-based Endpoint Technologies Associates, said that Austin has “the inside track” and suggested other sites, including STAMP, “are most likely involved to help the company drive up the value of incentives in Austin.”

Hyde remains optimistic, stating:

“We’ve been eating this elephant a bite at a time as capital becomes available. You know what, though, we’re finally just now arriving at the season where we built the initial pieces of the infrastructure for the site and we can accommodate smaller projects. But we’ve got all of the big infrastructure fully designed, fully permitted and fully ready to build … and now the big projects are inside that window.”

January 28, 2021 - 2:06pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer yesterday (Jan. 27) followed up on his efforts to secure a provision in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act to boost American-based semiconductor manufacturing by reaching out directly to Samsung, which is interested in possibly locating their new plant in Genesee County.

He called Senior Vice President of Samsung Device Solutions Joe Herr and other top brass about the Genesee Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- in Alabama and expressed his strong support for the project coming to Western New York.

Samsung is currently considering the STAMP campus, as well as several other locations in other states, for its semiconductor fabrication (“fab”) plant – with 1,900 jobs – that the company plans to open late next year. Samsung’s Device Solutions division includes Samsung’s Global Semiconductor Foundry business. 

“This Samsung project is an exciting and a potential game changer for the region," Schumer said. "I made it clear to Samsung that I strongly support locating their planned 1,900 worker state-of-the-art semiconductor chip fab at the shovel-ready STAMP site in Genesee County. I know firsthand that STAMP is shovel-ready – and that, combined with Upstate New York’s robust semiconductor industry, make Genesee the perfect location for Samsung’s new chip fab.

World-class WNY Workforce

"Our world-class Western New York workforce combined with New York’s considerable experience in semiconductor manufacturing and R&D means STAMP is tailor-made to be the home for Samsung’s new facility. I stand ready to help Samsung harness all that the federal government has to offer to continue to lead the tech industry and position New York as a global hub of semiconductor manufacturing.

“When I stood at STAMP in August to announce my proposal to create the first-ever new federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D incentives program, I said it could put sites like Western New York’s STAMP in contention for landing a new semiconductor manufacturing plant and the thousands of new jobs that come with it.

"This game-changer proposal passed into law last month and already companies like Samsung are considering STAMP for a 1,900 job chip fab plant, partly because of this new federal initiative. Now, I will work to secure this federal investment and offer my all-out support and advocacy in helping STAMP compete for this multi-billion-dollar plant.” 

Schumer has long championed the Genesee site and toured STAMP in August, and knows firsthand how ideal the campus would be as home for Samsung’s new chip fab. Schumer explained to Samsung that he, alongside the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCECC), New York State, and Western New York officials, worked for a decade to help ensure that it was shovel-ready for a semiconductor facility.

WNY Offers: Low Utility Costs, Transportation Networks, Supplies Access, Brain Power

“The STAMP campus, sitting on 1,250 acres of land between Buffalo and Rochester, New York’s second and third largest metros, respectively, with a 1.2 million person world-class workforce, is specifically designed for large-scale fabs and provides maximum flexibility in layout and infrastructure connections,” Schumer said.

"Additionally, the senator pointed out many cost and infrastructure advantages to the STAMP campus location, including low utility costs, access to existing transportation networks, access to New York state’s existing chip fab supply chain ecosystem, and 62 colleges, universities, and community colleges within a two-hour drive of the site including Cornell University, University at Buffalo, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Genesee Community College.

Schumer said Samsung is relying on his legislation to building new fabs like this one in the United States. In fact, Schumer pointed out, the United States has gone from producing 24 percent of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12 percent while China, by comparison, has gone from producing zero chips to 16 percent of the world’s supply because the United States is not matching the investments that other competing nations are making in order to land new job-creating semiconductor chip fabs.

The senator's first-ever legislation will reverse this imbalance and level the playing field for companies like Samsung to build new chip fabs in the United States. For the first-time Schumer’s legislation will provide federal incentives to semiconductor chip fabs to build in the United States.

U.S. Reliance on Foreign-made Microelectronics Could Pose 'Huge Risks'

Upon passage of his legislation last month in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act Schumer said his legislation is vital. He noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, by 2030, non-U.S. competitors are projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

In a recent meeting with the Commerce Secretary nominee, Governor Gina Raimondo, Schumer raised the urgent need to fully fund and implement the new Commerce semiconductor manufacturing grant program he passed into law as part of last year’s defense authorization, pointing to this Samsung investment as an example for why these federal incentives are such a high priority. Federal incentives are critical to the United States successfully competing with other countries, including China, for new semiconductor manufacturing investment like the proposed Samsung facility.

Schumer, in addition to paving the way for future federal incentives for investment into domestic semiconductor manufacturing previously brought STAMP to the attention of the Department of Defense, urging the agency to work with the semiconductor industry to expand the domestic supply of chips and other microelectronics.

STAMP is Made Specifically for What Samsung Needs

STAMP is specifically designed for development of large-scale semiconductor manufacturing. The 1,250 acre mega site can accommodate large advanced manufacturing operations with its expansive space for several plants.

Schumer has also previously lobbied the Board of Directors of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to put STAMP on their map and pitched SIA’s 18 semiconductor industry CEOs to look to expand their operations in Upstate New York at sites like STAMP in Genesee County.

In 2017 Schumer helped secure Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT agreement with Genesee County, the proceeds of which were needed to finance new water infrastructure at STAMP.

In 2016 Schumer began assisting STAMP secure necessary U.S. Fish and Wildlife right-of-way permits to construct new infrastructure hook-ups to STAMP. In 2012, Schumer successfully advocated on behalf of STAMP by calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide necessary wetlands permit assurances so that STAMP's developers could proceed with developing the site.

January 23, 2021 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in samsung, wny stamp, news, business.

South Korean technology company Samsung is reportedly eyeing WNY STAMP, along with two locations in Texas, for the construction of a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant.

Citing The Wall Street Journal (paywall), The Hill reports, Samsung aims to become the leader in the $400 billion industry and needs a plant in the Uniited States to make that happen.

Sen. Charles Schumer was in Alabama in August to discuss a congressional push to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the United States as a matter of national defense. The National Defense Authorization Act has not yet been funded.

The Hill reports that Samsung is looking to negotiate with federal officials for financial incentives to build the plant in the United States because it would be cheaper to develop its product in other parts of the world. 

Reportedly, Samsung’s goal is to have a chip-making plant operational by October 2022 and to employ 1,900 people.

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