October 27, 2006

Nanotech Hub Lures Business To Region

By: by Eric Anderson, Deputy Business Editor, Times Union


ALBANY -- Vistec Lithography Ltd., lured by the research and development at Albany NanoTech and $30 million in state funding, is moving lock, stock and barrel from Cambridge, England, to Watervliet.

It's the first time a high-tech equipment supplier has moved its entire operations to the Capital Region, said Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari, D-Cohoes.

The company, formerly Leica Microsystems Lithography, is developing electron-beam lithography, a technology that enables the production of ever-smaller components and circuity on microprocessors.

Vistec will establish a research presence at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany and, in partnership with the Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership, will move its headquarters, sales and marketing and manufacturing operations to the Watervliet Arsenal.

Canestrari on Thursday announced the creation of the Center for Lithography Development at UAlbany.

"New York state is wholeheartedly committed to build the 21st-century economy right here in the Capital District," he said.

Vistec will invest $125 million over the next two years in its facilities at the arsenal.

Papken S. Der Torossian, president and chairman of Vistec, said he is looking forward to moving to the region.

"My wife is from Boston. She used to vacation in Saratoga Springs," he said. "This is a wonderful area."

But he also said Vistec plans to build a business that makes sense, is profitable, and will create jobs.

"If you want to make movies, you go to Hollywood," he said. "If you want to work in nanotechnology, then you come to Albany."

The relocation is projected to create as many as 130 jobs over the next two years -- 80 at Vistec and 50 at Capital Region companies that will supply Vistec.

"Vistec's decision to relocate its operations ... because of the significant investment the state is making in the nanotechnology industry, is very encouraging," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. And he expects further dividends.

"If a technology or product is developed in a New York laboratory, we will ensure it's commercialized in New York as well," Silver said.

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Vistec's move was a big step forward for the arsenal, which began manufacturing cannons for the Army in 1813.

"I have fought for years to keep the cannon mission intact while helping to attract private businesses there, and I have always said that this 19th-century manufacturing site would have a key role in the development of 21st-century Tech Valley," Schumer said.

He commended the arsenal partnership, Albany NanoTech "and my good friends Shelly Silver and Ron Canestrari" for working together to bring new life to the facility.