A Fulton County construction company has gotten the initial contract to prepare the site for the GlobalFoundries computer chip factory and will start clearing and grading work next week.
GlobalFoundries also closed on its purchase of 223 acres at the Luther Forest Technology Campus on Wednesday.
The Delaney Group of Mayfield, which will clear and level land in preparation for building construction, should have 80 to 100 people working at the Luther Forest Technology campus within weeks, said Rick Whitney, U.S. president of M+W Zander, the international high-tech contractor overseeing plant construction.
“We had a very competitive bidding process,” Whitney said at an event Wednesday in Malta marking completion of GlobalFoundries’ $7.8 million real estate purchase earlier in the day. “Delaney proved to be the lowest bidder.”
He said the Delaney contract, for about six months of site work, will be worth in the “mid-teens” of millions of dollars.
GlobalFoundries has bought enough land and has zoning approvals for up to three computer chip factories, to be built over 25 years or more. Whitney said Delaney will be fully preparing one site for construction, and will do some initial prep work at the second site, but not at the third.
Actual construction of the first $4.2 billion, 1.3 million-square-foot computer chip plant will start in late July and take about two years, at a total cost of around $800 million.
“By next summer, we should have 1,000 people working on the site, and it will go on at that level for a year or so,” Whitney said.
Whitney and about 200 other people attended the event organized by the Luther Forest Technology Campus to celebrate the real estate sale and GlobalFoundries’ final commitment to build the long-planned chip plant, where 1,400 people will work starting in about 2012.
Plans for the plant were announced in 2006, but there remained some uncertainty until a final commitment letter was submitted to state officials on Tuesday.
“We’ve been committed to this project for a long time, but yesterday was the seal,” said GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard. He said there will be 130 to 140 subcontractors hired during the construction phase.
GlobalFoundries will be the first tenant of the 1,414-acre technology campus, where road and utility construction is now under way in both Malta and Stillwater.
“We are very pleased to have GlobalFoundries as the anchor tenant in what will be a world-class campus,” said LFTC President Michael Relyea.
Landing GlobalFoundries, the manufacturing company spun off by microprocessor maker Advanced Micro Devices, will help bring other tenants to the 400 acres at the campus still available for development, he said.
“They’re getting a lot of attention, and we’re going to piggy-back on that.”
Relyea and other speakers praised the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors for lending $6 million to help get the county water project started in 2007 before it was certain a chip plant would come to buy the water. The plant will use 3.1 million gallons a day and will be by far the water system’s biggest customer.
“We were put in the position, if there was any chance of this happening, water had to be there,” said county Water Authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford. “We truly were critical to this project. While there was all the back-and-forth, were they coming, were they not coming, we just went ahead.”
The $67 million water system is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by December.
Representatives of local trade unions praised GlobalFoundries for its commitment last week to hire local labor when possible and to require contractors pay union-scale wages.
“They made a strong commitment,” said Larry Bulman, business manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 773, which expects to have 600 members on the construction site.
In the audience were the two men who pioneered planning for the Luther Forest tech campus starting in the late 1990s, when they led the Saratoga Economic Development Corp.
Both former SEDC president Ken Green and former vice-president Jack Kelley now work in private development.
“This has been a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and every piece counted. Today it was all revealed,” Green said.
“Outside of the day I got married and the day my daughter was born, this ranks at the very top,” said Kelley.