Chip plant offers deal for Brown's Beach
Access would be trade for facility OK
MALTA & STILLWATER GlobalFoundries is offering to buy Brown’s Beach in Stillwater and open it to the public as part of a community benefit agreement in return for town approvals to build a second computer chip plant.
The purchase could re-establish the only public swimming access to the lake.
But the Malta Town Board wants another community benefit: a $5 million cash payment to go toward future road maintenance and an additional contribution to a GlobalFoundries-funded community benefit fund. GlobalFoundries is refusing to agree to that.
The differences over the host community development agreement are serious enough to have derailed GlobalFoundries’ original timetable, which sought to have town zoning approvals for the potential new plant in place by June 30.
A Malta Town Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning to discuss the development agreement was canceled.
“We recognize that Brown’s Beach is a nice contribution, but they are expanding their [Fab 8] by a factor of three, from 2,000 employees to more than 6,000, and they have an obligation to take financial responsibility for the impacts,” said Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville.
He said GlobalFoundries should pay for the maintenance and eventual repaving of the internal roads at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, since the nonprofit corporation that owns the campus is broke and has defaulted on its promised $400,000 a year in road maintenance payments.
“They’re the only users of the road,” Sausville said.
GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said the company is offering to buy the beach — which would have an undisclosed but probably seven-figure price tag — but not to pay Malta $5 million above and beyond that.
“We said that doesn’t work for us in terms of being in a competitive position to build in New York state,” he said.
While Fab 8 is GlobalFoundries’ newest plant, the California-headquartered and Abu Dhabi-owned company also has manufacturing facilities in Singapore and Dresden, Germany.
The Fab 8 site straddles the Malta-Stillwater town border, and both towns must approve any zoning changes. Bullard said the company hopes to resolve the differences with Malta.
“We’re going to continue to talk and work our way through this,” he said. “Adding the costs of maintenance of a public road to a private entity is not what is good for economic development.”
The town of Stillwater on May 16 signed a letter of intent to buy Brown’s Beach from its private owner, but nothing was said at that time about a possible financial role for GlobalFoundries. No purchase price has been revealed.
In a draft development agreement GlobalFoundries submitted to the two towns on June 12, the company says it will make a donation for the towns to buy and operate the 12-acre beach. It also says the donation would meet all future public benefit obligations, in the event the company seeks to expand again.
The swimming spot on the southeastern shore of Saratoga Lake, built around 1918, has been closed to the public since 2007. It has been the subject of interest by land developers for decades. There were plans in the past decade for condominiums and later a resort hotel, but they never won Stillwater’s approval.
Without Brown’s Beach, the only public access to Saratoga Lake is the state boat launch at the north end of the lake.
Buying the beach was on a wish list of community projects the two towns gave GlobalFoundries.
“Since GlobalFoundries has been in existence, we have received more requests and ideas from community residents to purchase Brown’s Beach than to invest in any other project,” GlobalFoundries’ Director of U.S. Government Relations Mike Russo wrote in a May 16 email to the Malta Town Board, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Gazette.
Purchase of the beach property would be tied to the company’s decision whether to build the second computer chip plant. Payment would be made at the time of groundbreaking.
The so-called Fab 8.2 would cost $15 billion, be larger than Fab 8.1 and bring at least 1,800 more employees to the area. Although they are in advanced planning, GlobalFoundries officials have said repeatedly there’s no final commitment to build Fab 8.2.
A community benefit agreement of some type is typical of such large projects, and there was one for the first chip plant.
For Fab 8.1, GlobalFoundries paid the two towns a total of $5 million: $1 million toward construction of a new community recreation complex in Malta, $3 million to fund a community foundation in Malta and $1 million for a community foundation in Stillwater.
Any benefit agreement for Fab 8.2 would be in addition to GlobalFoundries’ responsibility to pay for some portion of $7.1 million in traffic improvements in Malta, based on the anticipated impact of traffic created by the new plant.
The traffic improvements have been identified, but GlobalFoundries’ financial share has yet to be determined.
There’s one point of contention: A Town Board majority wants GlobalFoundries to pay the roughly $1 million local cost of improvements to the Round Lake Road corridor, and the company contends it shouldn’t be responsible, since that project predates planning for the new factory.
Despite the current differences, Malta Town Board member Peter Klotz, a Republican who is challenging Sausville for supervisor in a primary this year, said he expects some agreement to be reached.
“We’re still in negotiations, but I think we’re down to the last pieces of it,” Klotz said.