BATAVIA – It’s a dream at least a decade away from fulfillment and with unprecedented preliminaries, but to its creator, it’s an every workday item.
The Genesee County Economic Development Center’s vision of a 1,250-acre high-tech business park employing as many as 10,000 skilled workers and researchers is planned for the Town of Alabama, a five-mile ride from Thruway Exit 48A.
The WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plant will cover acres of farms and forests in a town with a population of 2,000. It will share borders with three federal and state wildlife refuges and the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.
STAMP will manufacture large-scale high-tech products such as solar panels and semi-conductors, drawing a labor force from the Buffalo and Rochester areas with easy commuting times.
The area’s first try at nanotechnology was envisioned eight years ago and already millions have been spent on land acquisition and site planning.
State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Clarence, and Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley, R-Batavia, helped secure $33 million toward a GCEDC goal of having the site “shovel ready” with all utilities, infrastructure and necessary building permits in place for prospective clients.
The agency has closed on about two-thirds of the site in the town’s northwest corner.
EDC has budgeted $3.09 million in land purchases this year, adding to $1.24 million already approved. One sticking point is that there is no immediate dollar return that other sale/lease back deals offer. STAMP’s return on investments is years away.
The project has gained widespread support from the general public building and trade associations and construction unions.
Meanwhile, the agency is involved with three expanding industries, Liberty Pumps of Bergen, Yancey’s Fancy in Pembroke, and U.S. Gypsum in Oakfield.