GE Global Research seeks Niskayuna’s approval to build testing facility

General Electric Global Research has requested approval from the Niskayuna Town Planning Board to co

General Electric Global Research has requested approval from the Niskayuna Town Planning Board to construct a small testing facility that could be finished by the summer of 2012.

On May 6, the planning board received plans from GE Global Research for an 11,250-square-foot “GE Spin Test Facility.” The new structure will be located west of the K-1 building and include a utility yard to house mechanical and electrical equipment.

According to Kathleen Matern, town planner for Niskayuna, the proposed addition will be considered June 8 by the Conservation Advisory Council, which will make a recommendation to the Planning Board. She added that because of the size of the project, it is characterized as a type 1 action, which means it also requires approval or insight from county and state agencies within 30 days of notification.

An outside engineering company has been hired to review the project, at the expense of GE Global Research. Matern said the board is using a company familiar with the site, where they previously inspected two other projects.

GE Global Research spokesman Todd Alhart said the new site will allow researchers to “scale up” their designs, as they move from compact-level to machine-level testing of technologies like turbines, motors and aircraft engines.

The expansion will not mean any new jobs, but Alhart said it will enhance the company’s capacity to conduct research. The facility employs about 2,000 people on the 550-acre property the company took over in 1950.

It is not clear how much the project will cost, with Alhart revealing only that GE is in the process of working out the final amount. He would not comment on preliminary costs or provide an estimate for the total expense.

Alhart said GE hopes to begin construction in the coming weeks. The project is likely to receive approval from the town, with Matern noting the proposal was relatively minor compared to previous undertakings at the site.

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