Saratoga County

Local, state officials meet on Luther Forest flap

Empire State Development Chairman Dennis Mullen and Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman


Empire State Development Chairman Dennis Mullen and Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Peck met Wednesday to try to resolve conflicts over the state’s planned takeover of the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

“It was a very productive meeting. We both have the same goals in mind for the future of Luther Forest,” Peck said after the 90-minute meeting in his office in Ballston Spa.

The two leaders met amid a controversy over Empire State Development’s plan to take over the tech park, which has been operated until now by a local non-profit corporation.

Mullen said last weekend the state plans to foreclose on the 1,414-acre industrial park, sparking a strong negative reaction form local officials. Mullen said the state needs to step in because of inadequate progress on infrastructure sought by GlobalFoundries, which is building a huge $4.6 billion computer chip plant at the park.

GlobalFoundries officials said they need the infrastructure in place by the time their factory is to open in 2012, and are concerned work is falling behind.

Empire State Development did not respond to a request for comment about Wednesday’s meeting between Mullen and Peck.

“It is Empire State Development’s intent to take possession of the site to ensure that there is no disruption in the critical infrastructure development necessary for the GlobalFoundries chip fab facility to proceed as planned,” the agency said in a statement released Monday.

The idea of a state takeover has been met with hostility from local officials, who have a working relationship with the people who have developed the campus over the last decade.

The technology campus is owned by the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp., a non-profit public benefit corporation closely affiliated with the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. LFTC’s president, Michael Relyea, has not returned phone calls this week.

The LFTC corporation has bought the land and built the first phase of road, water, sewer and electrical infrastructure.

It has done that work using about $80 million in grants and loans than came through Empire State Development.

GlobalFoundries officials said they need to see progress on establishing a backup water connection, paving the last section of Cold Springs Road in Stillwater, and installing a second natural gas line to serve its site, where two more chip plants could be built in the future.

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