Saratoga County

Luther Forest work moving briskly

Construction at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where Advanced Micro Devices plans to locate a
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Construction at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where Advanced Micro Devices plans to locate a computer chip factory, is on or ahead of schedule, a key official said Wednesday.

Road work in particular is moving quickly, and schedules are firming up for the construction of electrical power and sewer lines this fall.

“We’re moving along quite well in terms of the project and the schedule we need to be on,” said Michael Relyea, president of the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp.

Relyea provided an update to the county Board of Supervisors at a meeting in Ballston Spa.

The state is spending more than $100 million on land and infrastructure to develop the 1,350-acre wooded site on the Malta-Stillwater town line as a high-tech industrial park, one that backers think will transform the regional economy.

The park was first proposed in 2002, and won zoning approval from the two towns in 2004. State officials announced AMD in 2006 that AMD would come to the site with a $3.2 billion factory, though the financially struggling company has until July 2009 to make a final commitment.

Much of the intervening time was spent obtaining funding and doing detailed engineering.

“We’re really past the engineering phase and in the construction phase,” Relyea said.

A $33 million internal road construction project began this spring. Some 5.5 miles of road are being built, with planned completion in 2009.

“These guys are going at a lightning pace, with almost no problems,” Relyea said. “These are going to be beautiful roads in a wooded setting.”

The same contractor, Rifenburg Construction of Brunswick, is building the $22 million Round Lake bypass, which is also integral to the tech campus’ development.

“Unofficially, the Round Lake bypass is ahead of schedule. It should be open next summer,” Relyea said.

The $67 million county water line to serve the park is now under construction at a number of sites between the Hudson River in Moreau and the site.

Relyea said work should start late this fall on the 10 million gallon sewer line connecting the park to the county sewer district’s system.

Also scheduled for this fall is construction of power lines leading into the site from both east and west, provided by two different utilities, National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas.

AMD is currently completing an environmental review of its factory plans with the town of Malta. Findings from that review — essential before the Town Board can make a final decision — are expected in early August.

AMD is expected to buy at least 230 acres, enough for up to three computer chip plants.

The campus corporation this spring sold the approved right to build on 36 residential lots in a corner of the campus next to the Luther Forest housing development to Thomas Farone and Son for $1.6 million.

Relyea said the construction activity is generating new interest in the site from corporate site selectors, though none other than AMD has committed.

“We’re starting to get a lot more calls,” Relyea said.

Semiconductor and photovoltaics companies are among those who have contacted him, Relyea said.

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