GlobalFoundries requests quick approval from town boards

Posted at: 02/13/2013 12:07 AM
By: Dan Levy

MALTA - Residents of both Malta and Stillwater had a chance to see the possible future of their communities Tuesday night as officials from GlobalFoundries presented expansion plans that could increase jobs on the site to more than 5,000 workers.

Even though there hasn't been a final decision, GlobalFoundries officials have hinted they'd like to more than double the size of their chip fab plant capacity that already employees 2,000 people.

What company officials told board members from both communities Tuesday night was that they're counting on them to make a quick decision regarding site plan changes and permit approvals for the 223-acre Luther Forest Technology Park campus just in case the company does decide to build another chip fab plant.

"Obviously there's concerns and everybody wants to make sure that they're doing their due diligence and they're looking at some of the issues and making sure there's no devil in the details," said Travis Bullard, director of public affairs and communications for GlobalFoundries.

Bullard says the company needs to have "all its ducks in a row" so that they're ready in case Malta gets the "go ahead" to build what's being referred to as chip fab 8.2.

"This (Malta) is where a lot of growth is taking place," he reiterated. "A strong partnership with this community is critical to our ability to do business around the world."

"I welcome Global in our economy. I think it's going to be a huge boom for us," proclaimed Stillwater Supervisor Ed Kinowski, understanding the expediency the company is looking for from his town. "In this industry, it moves fast and we all know that and I think it just puts a little more of an aggressive approach on the two town boards."

Town leaders also want to make sure any potential expansion won't lead to adverse quality of life issues -- including noise, visual impact and traffic concerns to name a few.

"I think if we're smart, we can have our cake and eat it too," said Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville. "I think we can have the high-quality jobs we (expect) and we can have the tax base. (Global) will bring in some good jobs for our local people so the kids don't have to move to Austin, Texas to find work."

"The name of the game for our business is to have exactly the right amount of capacity at exactly the right time," Bullard added. "If we have too much capacity then we've got overhead that we're not making revenue on and that kills business."

There will be public hearings in both Malta and Stillwater coming up in March. Both town boards are expected to vote in site change sometime in the middle of May. The company is expecting complete site approvals by June 30.