January 29, 2009

Kaloyeros Proposes UAlbany, Marcy Split New Tech Workers

By: by Pam Allen, The Business Review


The CEO of UAlbany's NanoCollege says 200 of the 675 new jobs planned as part of a new $125 million computer-chip packaging and research center should be employed at the school's Albany NanoTech campus.

CEO Alain Kaloyeros said the remaining 475 jobs should be at another upstate location.

Kaloyeros said part of the role of the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is to direct high-tech economic development to other upstate areas.

In all, at least 1,000 new jobs would be added to upstate New York's workforce under a $1.5 billion investment package IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and state officials announced in July. The computer-chip packaging and research center is just one part of the overall project that includes expanding IBM's research at Albany NanoTech, where IBM already has 200 researchers, and East Fishkill. The state is contributing $140 million to the IBM initiative that will be used to create 325 jobs at Albany NanoTech.

Packaging centers are used to fit wiring interconnects and protective coverings in computer chips so they can be installed into computers and other electronic devices.

The packaging and research center will be owned and operated by Albany NanoTech. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will conduct research at the site.

The Capital Region and Oneida County are said to be top contenders for the center, but Gov. David Paterson said the location hasn't been determined yet.

Mohawk Valley EDGE, an economic development group in Rome, Oneida County, does not want to split the jobs between UAlbany and another location. It wants the entire 120,000-square-foot center built in Oneida County. One location the organization favors is the SUNY Institute of Technology in Marcy, outside Utica.

Kaloyeros said he's had two meetings with EDGE in the last three weeks to discuss splitting the jobs between Albany NanoTech and Oneida County.

"We've had no response. Personally, if I were them, I would have jumped all over it," Kaloyeros said.

EDGE President Steven DiMeo said he supports partnering with Albany NanoTech but said it was too early to discuss Kaloyeros' plan.

Mohawk Valley EDGE is the site developer and marketing organization for Marcy NanoCenter, a new chip fab and research site that does not have any tenants. EDGE officials say building the research and packaging center at nearby SUNYIT could attract tenants to Marcy NanoCenter.

Kaloyeros said it would cost more than $200 million to duplicate research facilities that already are on the Albany NanoTech campus.

"It also doesn't make sense technically to do the research anywhere else. You can't just plop a research center in the middle of nowhere," Kaloyeros said. "You need scientists and experts, and we have the know-how on-site."