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Genesee County betting on high-tech jobs in business park

BATAVIA – The Genesee County Economic Development Center is betting $50,000 on long odds on a potential jackpot to lure high-tech manufacturers to its newest and most ambitious business park.

The board of the development center voted to spend up to $50,000 to send officials to a Semicon Industry Association trade show in San Jose, Calif., in November. Their task is to entice computer chip makers and other high-tech innovations to locate in the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plant in the Town of Alabama.

The money will be spent for a sponsorship and for expenses for EDC officials, presumably including Chief Executive Officer Steven G. Hyde, who has masterminded the agency’s successful business parks.

The conference will allow presentations on the advantages of STAMP, including its size of 1,200 acres, its in-place infrastructure and its completed environmental studies.

Other pluses include its proximity to Buffalo and Rochester markets and skilled labor; its location five miles from a Thruway interchange; and its proven ability to get through the maze of needed permits quickly without time and effort by the tenant.

STAMP is a mega-site focused on nanotech research and development as well as manufacturing. Its products could be solar cells, semiconductors and flat-panel displays. A potential of up to 10,000 skilled workers would dwarf the town’s population of 2,000. However, the town has signed off on the project and will get a water system and money for capital projects.

Meanwhile, the development center continues to acquire land in the space bordered by federal land, state wildlife refuges and the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The board of directors has approved the purchase of about 190 acres at a cost not to exceed $2.1 million. State grants and a loan from the Empire State Development Corporation will finance the purchase.