Semiconductor R&D operation setting up in Schenectady

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SCHENECTADY — A vacant industrial building on the city’s Northside will become a research and development facility serving computer chip makers and their suppliers.

A New York City-based semiconductor industry adviser and investor purchased the 18,000-square-foot structure at 2210 Technology Drive formerly used as a chemistry lab by M&P Labs.

The new owner is Robert Maire, who created First Principles Technology LLC for the venture. He said Thursday he’s already completed cleaning out the space and next will install the cleanroom and other infrastructure needed for its new use. He expects to be ready for occupancy in the next few weeks.

The interior fit-up will run $3 million to $4 million, he said. 

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Board on Wednesday approved an $83,000 infrastructure grant to cover the cost of a sprinkler system.

Maire said the entire building already is leased to three companies.

“We are putting together a number of different companies in the semiconductor space, specifically what I would call the semiconductor equipment space,” he said.

The name of his company alludes to the concept in science, philosophy and other disciplines of starting at the basic level and building from there. The goal isn’t to manufacture semiconductors, or even necessarily to make the tools that semiconductor manufacturers use, but to make the tools or their components faster, cheaper and better.

Due to specialization and geographic separation, individual companies can become siloed, he said, and collaboration difficult. 

“In this industry it takes a village, so to speak,” Maire said. “Making that tool requires numerous [types of] expertise.”

The three tenant companies that will occupy 2210 Technology Drive — whom Maire can’t publicly identify yet — can now communicate with each other virtually but are far enough apart that on-site collaboration on lab work is difficult.

Maire lives on Long Island and has an office in New York City but he noted that neither is a hotbed of the semiconductor industry. He chose the Schenectady site because it’s in Tech Valley — close to IBM, SUNY Polytechnic’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and the GlobalFoundries chip fab plant.

First Principles Technology and its tenants aren’t targeting GlobalFoundries as a customer but the chipmaker potentially could be one in the future, Maire said.

Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said Thursday the company is a good addition to the business landscape and is making good use of space that went vacant when M&P was acquired by Lucideon, which continues to operate next door at 2190 Technology Drive.

“We’re happy to see the building back in use,” he said. “It puts us in the semiconductor space, which we haven’t been a part of.”

He said the combined workforce will be 40 people at the start, with potential for future expansion of space and personnel.

In a news release, Schenectady County Legislature Chair Anthony Jasenski said: “Our economic development team has done a great job matching the needs of businesses to existing structures within the county that benefit both the company and our community.” 

Categories: Business, News, Schenectady County

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