Glenville eyes gain from chip plant growth

James B. Valachovic believes that as more Capital Region communities try to land some of the project

James B. Valachovic believes that as more Capital Region communities try to land some of the projected 5,000 spinoff jobs created by the $4.2 billion GlobalFoundries plant coming to Malta, the need to stand out will be vital for areas like Glenville.

“Right now, everybody is doing the same thing,” he said.

Valachovic is among the area businesspeople preparing for the computer chip maker’s debut, which officials say will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the region.

Valachovic, treasurer and chief financial officer of Richmor Aviation, said the company is currently working on a marketing campaign with certain fuel providers to target Silicon Valley companies examining Tech Valley because of the GlobalFoundries project, expected to go online in 2012.

He’s hoping to capture the business of companies that would fly back and forth between here and California.

“That’s a niche. A crumb off a $4 billion table is a lot of money. That’s how I look at it,” Valachovic said.

For Kim Perone, a resident of Glenville and director of membership and communication for the region’s Center for Economic Growth, the process of planning for GlobalFoundries is “completely exciting.”

But Perone said she can understand how not enough communities realize the opportunities presented by GlobalFoundries.

“Really, it’s up to us to get the word out,” Perone said.

Glenville Councilman Sid Ramotar invited the CEG to give a presentation on the possibilities Thursday morning at the Glenville Municipal Center to area businesspeople as part of the meeting of the Glenville Small Business and Economic Development Commission.

“It makes sense so more people can understand what’s happening, how something so big so close can benefit you,” Ramotar said.

While there are individual efforts locally to prepare, Ramotar said a collective effort in Glenville is needed over the next three years as the plant is built.

The town is considering becoming a member of the CEG, which would cost $2,500, according to F. Michael Tucker, CEG president and CEO. About a third of the CEG’s funding comes from membership fees, the rest from a combination of state and federal support for its economic development efforts.

Tucker said Glenville is positioned for a housing boom as officials from GlobalFoundries’ operations in Dresden, Germany, and Austin, Texas, continue to relocate to the area.

GlobalFoundries officials told The Gazette that 14 percent of the plant had been constructed as of the end of January. There are around 250 construction workers currently laboring at the site as well, a number that is expected to reach up to 1,600 by the end of the year.

“They’re going to be looking at towns and communities that surround them. The housing market is going to tighten up in Malta and Stillwater, and you’re perfectly positioned for that,” Tucker said. “We do think there will be some opportunity for housing growth.”

The incremental economic growth is already evident.

The owner of Napa Auto Parts at the intersection of routes 9 and 67 has seen sales rise 60 percent since construction traffic for the plant began, according to Tucker. And an executive with Stewart’s Shops told CEG that its stores near the construction site are also seeing a sales boost, he said.

Right now, GlobalFoundries is being “killed with love,” Tucker joked, as area businesses volunteer to be everything from the resident barber to the caterer for the site.

Tucker said as CEG acts as a concierge to GlobalFoundries’ supply chain companies, he wants to ensure that local companies can adapt, either working directly for GlobalFoundries or working for one of the global suppliers that will serve the computer chip maker.

“We want the local companies to grow first,” he said.

Categories: Business

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