Schenectady County

M+W Group moving headquarters to arsenal

The M+W Group, the international high-tech construction company now building the GlobalFoundries com

The M+W Group, the international high-tech construction company now building the GlobalFoundries computer chip factory in Malta, will move its North American headquarters to Watervliet, it was announced Tuesday.

The move will bring about 190 additional jobs from Texas to vacant space in the Watervliet Arsenal, where M+W already has a construction trades training center.

As an incentive, the state is providing $6.5 million in capital funds controlled by the state Assembly.

“That an international leader in the nanoscale technology field would locate its North American base of operations here at the Watervliet Arsenal demonstrates the emergence of the Capital Region as a center of cutting-edge research and development in this industry,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who made the announcement.

M+W will be investing $228.5 million at the arsenal over the next five years in new construction and in new payroll, officials said. An additional 200 construction and support jobs are also predicted.

Part of the deal also has M+W promising to devote resources to developing female- and minority-owned businesses.

The announcement was made in a packed auditorium at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, where the semiconductor and nanotechnology research buildings were also built within the past decade by M+W.

M+W Group, which was previously known as M+W Zander, is a leading worldwide high-tech construction firm headquartered in Germany. Its North American headquarters have been located in Plano, Texas, outside Dallas.

The company has about 5,000 employees worldwide, with 800 in the United States.

In 2004, M+W established its construction trades training center at the arsenal with about $2 million in state incentives. About 70 people work there now. The center has since trained more than 1,000 workers, some of them now working on the GlobalFoundries project.

The GlobalFoundries contract is worth about $800 million. It is the largest construction project currently under way in the United States.

M+W hopes to get the contract to install the manufacturing tools in the plant in 2011 and years more of GlobalFoundries work beyond that.

After the current plant opens in 2012, GlobalFoundries has tentative plans for two additional chip fabs on its property at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater.

M+W Group has also done work at the IBM chip plants in East Fishkill, and it built the two GlobalFoundries plants in Dresden, Germany, when they were still owned by Advanced Micro Devices.

M+W U.S. President Rick Whitney, who already spends much of his time here, said the headquarters move will take about 18 months.

“We have found it critical to have our home base where the action is — and the action is clearly in New York state,” Whitney said.

M+W will be adding 30,000 square feet to its building in Watervliet, about doubling its current space. The employees coming in will include engineers, construction managers and administrative employees, Whitney said.

It will be locating at the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership, which was established in 1999 to redevelop sections of the historic Army cannon research and manufacturing facility that the Army was no longer using.

There, M+W Group will be located alongside other high-tech tenants, including Vistech Lithography, which makes semiconductor manufacturing tools. About 260 people now work for arsenal business tenants.

“It’s a perfect fit for us,” said Tony Gaetano, president of the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership.

Total Facility Solutions, a specialty contractor/services company owned by the M+W Group, is also already located at the arsenal.

Silver said the relocation fits into a decade-long state strategy to create academic and private research partnerships that will establish a high-tech corridor in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley.

“They will be providing the highly skilled work force that we need,” Silver said.

M+W Group’s decision to relocate highlights the region’s arrival as a world-class technology hub, others at the announcement said, and it is an indication of the predicted spinoff effects from the GlobalFoundries plant.

“It certainly is an exciting example of the clustering effect envisioned for the whole region,” said F. Michael Tucker, president of the Center for Economic Growth in Albany. “Why would they be moving their headquarters here if they didn’t think there was more to come?”

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