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GloFo keeping builders busy

GloFo keeping builders busy

The towns of Halfmoon and Clifton Park in Saratoga County and the town of Colonie in Albany County l

Steffen Buck realized just how good GlobalFoundries was for home construction in Halfmoon after a line of houses in one development had filled up.

“Six right in a row,” he said, “one right next to another, all in one development. They were all GlobalFoundries employees of some sort.”

GlobalFoundries employs nearly 1,800 at its Fab 8 plant in Malta, and continues to mean business for residential builders and developers in the Capital Region. In addition to desirable school districts and plenty of space, the semiconductor manufacturer played a large role in luring homeowners to southern Saratoga County last year.

The towns of Halfmoon and Clifton Park in Saratoga County and the town of Colonie in Albany County led the Capital Region in the number of building permits issued in the first 11 months of 2012, a trend area officials expect to continue into the new year.

“It has been busy,” said Buck, director of code enforcement in Halfmoon’s Building Department. “I talk to developers and builders, asking where this person comes from or that person, and they all say GlobalFoundries.”

The town issued 158 residential building permits for 210 housing units from January to November 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Data for the month of December is not yet available. Construction costs for these buildings will total nearly $35.6 million.

Rolling Hills Estates on Cary Road, Swatling Falls on Upper Newtown Road and Harvest Bend on Hidden Farm Lane were some of the busiest sites last year for new home construction, Buck said.

“There’s been a lot of single-family homes,” he said. “There has been a large influx of apartments that seem to fill up here, as well.”

It’s not unusual for his department to get phone calls from people hoping to end up within the Shenendehowa Central School District.

“People call and say, ‘If I build a new home on such and such development, is that within the Shen school district?’ Everybody wants Shen schools.”

Clifton Park issued building permits for 89 new, privately owned single-family homes last year. The cost associated with construction of these homes was expected to total more than $37 million.

Clifton Park Building and Zoning Director Steven Myers also credits the influx of foreign workers from GlobalFoundries for the housing boom.

“One builder told me he had a Chinese engineer from GlobalFoundries come and look at one of his houses one day. He ended up liking it and brought back several of his friends — all from GlobalFoundries.”

Myers also cited the town’s commercial development, the county’s low taxes and Clifton Park’s proximity to the state Capitol as reasons for its lead in residential construction.

There’s also space to build. Sometimes, a new subdivision requires its own road. Once the Vistas at Clifton Park are 80 percent full, Michael McPartlon expects Vista Drive to show up on Google Maps.

The subdivision is made of 24 town homes located off Route 146, about a half-mile west of the Route 146A intersection. Parkland Development acquired the property in 2007 but waited until after the worst of the housing bubble to apply for building permits. The first model unit was built in January 2012. As of Wednesday, 11 of the 24 units had sold.

“I think for us, GlobalFoundries was certainly a motivator,” said McPartlon, vice president at the Schenectady corporation. “We were seeing a lot of people moving in and needing housing.”

More building permits were issued in the Capital Region last year than in any other metropolitan area in the state, not counting the New York City-northern New Jersey-Long Island area. Municipalities with some of the most building permits included the town of Colonie, with 97 permits issued; the city of Saratoga Springs, with 65 permits; and the town of Niskayuna, with 51 permits.

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