Riverhead supe: Computer chip giant interested in EPCAL land

02/20/2015 4:33 PM |
A bird's eye view of the Enterprise Park at Calverton site. (Credit: Andrew Lepre, file)

A bird’s eye view of the Enterprise Park at Calverton site. (Credit: Andrew Lepre, file)

GlobalFoundaries, a Silicon Valley-based company described as a spinoff of computer chip giant AMD, has expressed interest in building a plant that would manufacture semiconducters in Calverton, Supervisor Sean Walter said.

“They did send somebody to look at the property around Columbus Day,” Mr. Walter said. “Unfortunately, because we haven’t moved quickly, now they (GlobalFoundaries) are looking at property in Delaware” as well.

He stressed that EPCAL still is in play for GlobalFoundaries, but said the town’s lack of marketing the site is a problem.

“There’s been no active marketing of the property and we just don’t want to waste time. Every day we don’t actively market this property is problematic,” Mr. Walter said, stressing that hiring the Pataki-Cahill Group, which the board failed to do at its last meeting, could go a long way to solving this problem.

On Wednesday, a 3-2 Town Board majority voted to put off voting on a resolution to hire Pataki-Cahill to develop marketing and planning strategies for EPCAL, and to subcontract with a real estate broker, which Mr. Walter said would be Cushman and Wakefield.

The proposed agreement would give Pataki-Cahill Group a 4.5 percent commission on land sales at EPCAL.

It was Pataki-Cahill Group, the firm headed by former state governor George Pataki and former state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner John Cahill, that brought GlobalFoundaries to EPCAL, Mr. Walter said.

Councilman Jim Wooten said the board is planning to vote on the Pataki-Cahill Group resolution at a special meeting next Thursday at 9:30 a.m.. Mr. Wooten and Councilman George Gabrielsen, who voted to table the Pataki-Cahill resolution Wednesday, both now say they now plan to vote in favor of hiring Pataki-Cahill at the special meeting.

Mr. Pataki was instrumental in bringing GlobalFoundaries to upstate Malta, in Saratoga County, when he was governor in 2006, and when GlobalFoundaries was still part of AMD, the second-largest computer processor maker in the country after Intel.

GlobalFoundaries opened a $4.6 billion computer chip manufacturing plant in Malta in 2009.

Mr. Walter says there have been about a half-dozen companies that have expressed interested in EPCAL, including GlobalFoundaries and a South Korean company that builds LED lights, according to a Times-Union newspaper report.

None of the companies are near signing a deal with the town, he said, adding that he has not even told the Town Board about some of them.

“They come and they go. We were not ready at the time to sign a deal, but now we are,” Mr. Walter said. “But we’re trying to vet all these companies and it’s impossible for us to do.”

This is where he believes the town needs Pataki-Cahill Group to investigate potential offers for EPCAL, which he says the town is not capable of doing.

He said the town had tried hiring just a real estate broker to market EPCAL in the past and ended up with proposals from groups touting things like manmade ski slopes, polo facilities and other projects he felt were unrealistic.

The supervisor believes Mr. Pataki, who has considered running for president, would not put his reputation at stake by promoting unrealistic projects at EPCAL.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who this week announced that she will screen for the Republican nomination for supervisor,  said she voted to table the resolution to hire Pataki-Cahill Group because the board wasn’t included in the negotiations and because she feels the 4.5 percent commission is too high.

She said 4.5 percent should be the highest commission and that lower sale prices should have lower rates.

She said she was unaware of GlobalFoundaries’ interest in town land at EPCAL, but believes the town should issue a request for proposals seeking other firms to market EPCAL, in addition to Pataki-Cahill.

Mr. Gabrielsen and Mr. Wooten also said they were unfamiliar with the company’s interest in the site.

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