Saratoga County

Land to IDA may cover debt of tech campus

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency would take ownership of 21 developable acres at th

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency would take ownership of 21 developable acres at the Luther Forest Technology Campus under a proposed loan forgiveness plan.

Under the proposal, which the IDA board has discussed but not voted on, the IDA would accept the land from the nonprofit development corporation that owns it in return for forgiving $650,000 in loans it made a decade ago to help launch the technology campus.

“The resolution that was discussed lays out the elements of the agreement, but there is no final commitment,” said Lawrence D. Benton, executive director of the county IDA, after its board met Tuesday in Saratoga Springs.

The technology campus, spread over 1,414 acres in both Malta and Stillwater, is home to the $6.9 billion GlobalFoundries computer chip factory, where 1,600 people work.

But public officials are growing increasingly concerned that no new businesses have come to the campus since its basic infrastructure was completed in 2009, the same year GlobalFoundries broke ground.

The LFTC Economic Development Corp. is increasingly cash-strapped, and has asked the town of Malta for zoning changes that would allow it to offer better incentives to attract companies.

Benton said the proposed transaction could help.

“The [IDA] board is supportive,” Benton said. “They owe us money, and the LFTC is running out of money, I think that’s public knowledge.”

The developer owes the IDA for $550,000 in loans made for conducting environmental and other studies in 2001, when the technology campus was still only a concept. There was also a $100,000 loan for land acquisition in 2004. Any unpaid interest on the loans — the rate was very low — also would be forgiven.

Under the loan forgiveness plan, Benton said the IDA would receive all of Development Area 4, which is 21 acres zoned for nanotechnology manufacturing or nanotechnology support businesses. It is located in Malta, off the main entrance road from Route 67, east of the first roundabout.

Benton said the IDA would use some of its available fund balance and other grant money to extend water and sewer service to the land, making it more suitable for development.

The proposal has been under discussion by the two sides for months. It isn’t known when the matter will come to a vote. LFTC Economic Development Corp. President Michael Relyea could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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