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AMD plant on track despite corporate delay

AMD plant on track despite corporate delay

Local approvals for Advanced Micro Devices’ planned computer chip factory in Luther Forest are proce

Local approvals for Advanced Micro Devices’ planned computer chip factory in Luther Forest are proceeding despite Tuesday’s delay of a critical corporate vote.

Town officials and AMD representatives said they expect the town Planning Board to vote March 10 on granting the first permit, for land clearing and site preparation, at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

“That will keep us on schedule for roughly St. Patrick’s Day to start clearing and grubbing,” said Matthew Jones of Saratoga Springs, AMD’s land-use attorney.

Company officials have said they want to start clearing land in mid-March and be ready to start construction of the $4.6 billion factory in June.

That schedule won’t be affected by Tuesday’s one-week delay in a shareholder vote on creating a new spinoff company with Abu Dhabi investors that will take over AMD’s manufacturing assets. Not enough shareholders voted, but company officials said they expect the deal to be approved once 50 percent of the shareholders send in their ballots.

“Unfortunately, there’s a curve ball there we have to deal with,” said Steve Groseclose, AMD’s director of global environmental health and safety and head of its regulatory approvals team. “Everything is really trending in the right direction.”

The town Planning Board had its first look at the factory’s site plan application Tuesday and will discuss it again Feb. 24.

Town Planning Director Anthony Tozzi said the board can’t vote until March 10, after AMD appears before the Zoning Board of Appeals on March 3. The company needs a variance due to a town law saying that developers can’t disturb sites with more than 15 percent slope. AMD is buying 222 acres within the Luther Forest Technology Campus in an area with ridges and ravines.

“There are slopes on 15 percent of this site, as there would be on any site of this size,” Tozzi said.

The March 10 vote would only be on the land clearing. Later Planning Board reviews will cover temporary construction facilities and the design of the 1.3-million-square-foot building, which could be the first of three factories.

Rick Whitney, president of M+W Zander’s U.S. operations, said 75 to 100 workers will be on the site for clearing and the construction work force should rise to 400 this summer, 700 to 800 late in the year and 1,000 to 1,200 by early next year.

M+W Zander, an international high-tech construction firm, has designed the factory and is the leading candidate to be general contractor.

AMD has rented 9,000 square feet of office space at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, and Groseclose said full-time employees should be there by early March.

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