September 10, 2010
By: by Eric Anderson, Business Editor, Times Union
A collaboration between Lockheed Martin Corp., the Albany-based College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and a central New York economic development agency is expected to grow into a $250 million investment in the next year and a half, and perhaps to as much as $1 billion over time.
That's according to Alain Kaloyeros, senior vice president and CEO of CNSE, part of the state University at Albany. Centerpiece of the new endeavor is a vacant former General Electric Co. laboratory in the Syracuse suburb of Salina.
On Wednesday, State Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-North Syracuse, said the Assembly is providing $28 million for the project, including $16 million to renovate the laboratory and $12 million to pay for specialized equipment.
The new laboratory will turn innovations developed at Albany Nanotech, as the CNSE complex is also called, into products for commercial and military markets. The venture is expected to create 250 jobs in Syracuse.
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin will move at least some of those jobs from other locations to Syracuse. In addition, it will become a tenant at Albany Nanotech, and Kaloyeros said he expects it to have 25 to 35 researchers there. More than 2,500 people are employed at the Albany research complex, a $6 billion public-private partnership.
The project was first reported Wednesday by the Syracuse Post-Standard, which said the GE laboratory once focused on research into television tubes, pacemakers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The 100,000-square-foot building has been closed for 14 years.
It's part of the Electronics Park campus once occupied by GE, where Lockheed Martin now has 2,400 employees. GE sold its aerospace business, including the campus, to Martin Marietta in 1992 for $3.01 billion. A merger with Lockheed created Lockheed Martin in 1995.
Electronics Park is operated by the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, a regional economic development agency, in a partnership with Lockheed Martin and Empire State Development Corp.
Research and development of so-called "systems on a chip" for radar and sonar applications will take place in Albany, Kaloyeros said, and then be developed into products in Syracuse.
He likened the arrangement with Lockheed Martin to existing ones with IBM Corp. and GlobalFoundries, where the research occurs locally and manufacturing takes place in Fishkill and Malta.
And while investment over the next year is expected to total $250 million, "we expect it will be the first phase of an expanded Lockheed Martin partnership that eventually could reach $1 billion," Kaloyeros said.
One Capital Region economic development official said that he wasn't at all upset that the project went to Syracuse instead of Albany.
"If we only did business with those who existed in our region, we would never be able to grow and expand," said F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth, a private nonprofit economic development agency with its offices in Albany. He said the growing upstate nanotechnology cluster, with facilities in the Mohawk Valley and central New York, is a positive development for the Albany Nanotech complex.
"If you look at the clustering effect that is the model for the new innovation economy, we are the hub of that cluster," Tucker said.
Work on the project is expected to begin by the end of the year and take 18 months.
Eric Anderson can be reached at 454-5323 or by e-mail at email@example.com.