GlobalFoundries is laying the groundwork for building a second semiconductor manufacturing plant at its Fab 8 site at a cost of nearly $10 billion.
The company confirmed Tuesday it will apply later this week to the towns of Malta and Stillwater for planned development district zoning amendments it would need should it decide to build the computer chip plant.
“We are planning to file an application for PDD amendments to support a possible second semiconductor manufacturing facility at the Fab 8 campus. The potential second fab, or ‘Fab 8.2,’ could significantly expand our investment and capabilities in New York,” GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said.
The Malta Town Board has scheduled a zoning workshop for Feb. 12 in anticipation of receiving the application.
An application would follow up on strong hints from the company that a second plant in Saratoga County is in the offing. Three weeks ago, while visiting Albany, GlobalFoundries CEO Ajit Manocha said the company was looking at investing $10 billion in a second plant at Fab 8 “when we are ready to proceed.”
Bullard said the filing of the application is no guarantee the company will follow through on construction.
“Any decisions on additional facilities will be driven by a variety of complex factors, including local site plan approvals, the availability of regional infrastructure, market demand and global business conditions,” he said.
Under established development plans, a second fabrication plant would be built east of the existing plant on a footprint that would straddle the Stillwater-Malta line, with most of the plant in Malta. The site is currently zoned under a 2004 law that established the Luther Forest Technology Campus with approval for three computer chip plants and amendments written in 2008 to conform to the details of the Fab 8 proposal.
Malta town Supervisor Paul Sausville said the town’s goal is to make a decision on the new zoning request — including an environmental impact review — by about Aug. 1.
“The activity in the town of Malta with our high-tech campus is on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the Capital Region, and it’s exciting to see GlobalFoundries going forward with expansion plans,” Sausville said.
A new plant may be geared to use 450-mm silicon wafers, a “next-generation” wafer currently being developed at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering — where GlobalFoundries is among the research partners. The industry standard currently is for 300-mm wafers to be used as the template from which the tiny computer chips are cut.
Fab 8’s first plant, where the company is investing $6.9 billion, has started volume commercial production in recent months, after three years of construction, equipment installation and testing. About 2,000 people work there.
As a foundry, GlobalFoundries makes chips to order for about 160 electronics companies.
Bullard said having the new plant designed with town zoning approvals in place are necessary steps in the company’s decision-making.
“This early planning work is part of our strategy to evaluate capacity expansion opportunities around the world in order to support long-term customer demand and achieve our global business objectives,” he said.