NISKAYUNA — SI Group reversed course Tuesday and said it would keep its headquarters and research operations in Niskayuna.
The chemical manufacturer announced in July 2019 that it would vacate its 81-acre campus off Balltown Road and place the property up for sale. In December, it announced it would move its office operations into leased space at the headquarters of the Golub Corporation on Nott Street in Schenectady and would continue to seek space for its lab facilities.
The Balltown Road campus is no longer for sale.
The change of plans is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SI Group’s roughly 3,000 employees are spread across five continents, and the company said it is concerned about their health. Also, like much of the industrial and commercial sectors, it is focused on keeping its supply chain and operations intact during disruptions unprecedented during peacetime, as well as absorbing the financial impact of the situation.
“As with all businesses, our global company is changing rapidly due to COVID-19, and we are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of our employees, our manufacturing sites and our communities”, SI Group President and CEO David Bradley said in a news release Tuesday. “Part of that safety is protecting our financial well-being as a business and an employer. Therefore, we are looking at all projects and investments very closely right now in relation to the economic impacts that are still to be realized.”
SI Group’s decision last summer touched off a scramble to retain the company in Schenectady County. The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, involved from the start in keeping SI Group local and finding someone to take over their Niskayuna campus, said Tuesday it supported the company’s decision and understood the reasons behind it.
Bradley thanked Metroplex as well as Golub Corp, operator of Price Chopper and Market 32 supermarkets, and Galesi Group, owner of the Golub headquarters building.
“We are grateful for the community support we have received throughout this project and for the relationships we have built. This is a difficult decision, but one that is necessary given the current economic and market environment,” Bradley said.
Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed welcomed the decision. She said via email: “I am heartened by the news that SI Group’s corporate headquarters will remain in Niskayuna. From a managerial perspective, and speaking from experience, there is value in knowing that your company and workforce are based in a supportive and tight-knit community like Niskayuna, most especially during these uncertain times. While the current pandemic may have played a pivotal role in reversing SI’s decision to move to downtown Schenectady, I am confident that the hallmarks of our Town — the fact that it is, and always will be, a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family — will ensure that this is a permanent decision and not a temporary one.”
SI Group — previously Schenectady International and originally Schenectady Varnish Co. when founded in 1906 — is a longtime fixture of the regional industrial scene. It operates a chemical factory on Route 5S in Rotterdam Junction. The Niskayuna and Rotterdam facilities have approximately 350 employees combined.
The company develops performance additives, process solutions, pharmaceuticals and chemical intermediates, and supplies the plastics, oilfield, rubber, fuels & lubricants, active pharmaceutical ingredients and industrial resins industries.