NISKAYUNA — Momentive Performance Materials plans to build a new research and development center on the Balltown Road campus now owned by SI Group.
Momentive, a silicones manufacturer based in nearby Waterford, plans to move its global headquarters to Niskayuna and relocate about 200 employees there. Manufacturing operations will remain in Waterford.
SI Group, meanwhile, will relocate some of its employees to leased space in Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, the city where the company was formed in 1906.
The two chemical manufacturers said Friday they had finalized the plans, which still were tentative Wednesday when the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority approved $1.08 million in grants to assist the deal.
A Daily Gazette story published Thursday mischaracterized the move as a relocation of SI Group’s headquarters. SI Group — which announced its plans to leave Niskayuna several months after its acquisition by a private investment firm in 2018 — has set up its headquarters in leased space in the Houston, Texas, area.
SI Group said more than 100 corporate employees will make the move from Balltown Road to Mohawk Harbor, which will be larger by square footage than the headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas.
SI Group will continue to operate its factory in Rotterdam Junction, but is relocating its research and development operation from Niskayuna to space it purchased in Houston.
Momentive has signed a purchase agreement for SI Group’s 81-acre Balltown Road campus, which has extensive open space surrounding buildings totaling 127,000 square feet.
“Moving forward with another step in our previously announced Waterford transformation, we are committed to maintaining a strong presence in the Capital Region and expanding our regional presence,” Momentive President and CEO Sam Conzone said in a prepared statement. “This move provides an opportunity for Momentive to upgrade and expand our R&D/technology labs to a state-of-the-art building and co-locate our teams.”
He said Momentive’s corporate staff would begin relocating this year. The research and development teams wouldn’t move to Niskayuna until the new R&D center is built, which is projected to be in 2024.
Momentive, the spinoff of General Electric’s former Silicones business, has operations in more than 20 countries, an international footprint even larger than SI Group, which operates in 10 countries.
Brooke Manrique, senior vice president of human resources and communications at SI Group, said the moves from Niskayuna to Texas and Schenectady are related to recruitment and retention: Houston is an epicenter of the American chemical industry, and will provide a greater pool of technical talent to draw from, while the waterfront office space in Mohawk Harbor will contribute to the workplace amenities and company culture SI wants to offer employees.
The company expects to start moving employees into the 19,655-square-foot space at Mohawk Harbor in the first quarter of 2023, after the space is prepared.
Metroplex will provide a $175,000 grant to SI Group; a $150,000 grant to the Galesi Group, owner of Mohawk Harbor, for the estimated $2.5 million cost to finish and fit out the space; and $750,000 to Momentive to assist with relocation.
Local officials Friday hailed the developments.
“Momentive is a global leader in advanced materials and after an extensive search the company has selected Schenectady County for its new corporate headquarters,” Anthony Jasenski, chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature, said in a prepared statement. “We thank Momentive for giving us the opportunity to host their new headquarters and R&D facility. We also thank SI Group for retaining key corporate staff and its large manufacturing plant in Rotterdam Junction, ensuring that a company started in Schenectady more than 100 years ago will continue to be a valued member of our community.”
Niskayuna Town Supervisor Jaime Puccioni said: “From my first day at Town Hall, I have stayed in constant contact with the county’s economic development team to make sure that this key 81-acre parcel in our town continued to be an R&D center joining GE and KAPL in Niskayuna’s high-tech corridor. I am so pleased to join the county in welcoming Momentive’s headquarters and new research center and I am thankful to the county for working so diligently to get this deal done.”
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said: “We thank Metroplex and the Galesi Group for bringing a great company, the SI Group, back to the city of Schenectady where the company was founded. This will bring even more activity to our busy waterfront and shows that Schenectady continues to compete for and win new jobs and investment.”