Chip makers choose Albany for major R&D site

New York state has high hopes that a decision by International Sematech to locate a research facility in Albany will boost the capital region's economy and turn it into a hot spot for IT manufacturing.

New York put up $210 million of the $400 million earmarked to develop the facility, to be located at the University at Albany, part of the State University of New York (SUNY). Sematech Inc., a consortium of 12 chip makers, will put up $193 million during the course of the five-year deal.

"It will transform the upstate economy and bring thousands of new, high-paying jobs to the capital district, the Hudson Valley, the Mohawk Valley and beyond," New York Gov. George Pataki said.

The center will focus on advanced lithographic infrastructure for extreme ultraviolet lithography. The work, to be done in a clean room that's part of SUNY Albany's Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics, will immediately create 250 new jobs.

Part of the facility should be ready by the end of the year, with the remainder expected to be complete in 2003.

Sematech President and CEO Bob Helms said the consortium had to open a second facility -- its first is in Austin, Texas -- because the challenges of the industry were too extensive to be solved at just one site.

"The consortium has engaged in a series of collaborative partnerships around the world to share the risks and rewards of technology research and development," Helms said in a statement.

Helms said he was pleased to receive the large investment from New York, which was in competition with several other states, including North Carolina, Massachusetts and California.

New York officials cited Austin's growth as an IT center after the construction of Sematech's first R&D center. A statement from Pataki's office noted that:

  • Austin's regional population grew from 600,000 to 1.2 million.
  • The city has had a lower unemployment rate than the rest of Texas and the nation.
  • More than 200 companies catering to the semiconductor industry and 120 computer manufacturing companies are now located in Austin.
  • More than 125,000 IT workers are employed in the Austin area.
  • Sematech employs 600 people. The consortium is composed of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Agere Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Infineon Technologies AG, IBM, Intel Corp., Motorola Inc., Philips Electronics NV, STMicroelectronics NV, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Texas Instruments Inc.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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