BATAVIA – Acres of farms, forests and wetlands are slowly being acquired for what ranks as the top job-creating development in Genesee County history, according to a progress report on two area business parks.
The Town of Alabama has more than 1,200 acres that will in the next decade become a high-tech business park called Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plant (STAMP). It’s a project of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, adding to its half-dozen business parks in three towns.
The county’s Industrial Development Agency has already acquired more than a third of the property that adjoins the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and state and federal wildlife refuges.
Now it is acquiring homes on the property using funds set aside by the state and the agency for property acquisition.
STAMP will be a high-tech business park geared to the research and manufacture of solar panels, computer chips and semiconductors. Its full potential – in two decades – is 9,300 jobs with a payroll for highly skilled jobs at more than $500 million, authorities said.
The current goal is to make the property “shovel-ready” so prospects have utilities and roads in place. As that progresses, officials can begin marketing the location, which is five miles from a Thruway interchange.
Economic Development Center officials have already made an audiovisual presentation at a semiconductor conference in California. They will also be at the similar trade show next month in California.
Because Town of Alabama officials have approved rezoning measures, the state has fronted the EDC $10 million for capital projects, including an improved townwide water distribution system.
EDC is also negotiating with yogurt maker Alpina Foods for an additional 10 acres in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park for a possible expansion. Alpina’s first venture in the United States was becoming the first tenant in the park, which is tailored for food processors. Also in the park, near the city’s eastern border, is Muller Quaker, a large manufacturer of yogurt.
The agency is now working with another potential agri-business to locate in the 200-acre expanse. A business wants to build a biodigester near the yogurt manufacturers. The plant would convert organic waste from the yogurt operations and area dairy farms into electricity. This meets goals of getting rid of waste and providing less-expensive electricity, officials said.