MALTA -- Efforts to find accommodations for businesses that will be supporting GlobalFoundries are increasing as officials with the computer-chip maker begin to award supply contracts and their factory moves closer to opening.
Economic development officials in the area said in recent interviews that they expect to see a spate of companies announce moves to the area over the next 18 months as GlobalFoundries prepares to begin production at its $4.6 billion factory in early 2013.
Two companies — KLA-Tencor and Tokyo Electron — have already announced moves to Malta and have begun their transition into offices located just miles from the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where GlobalFoundries is building.
"We know that within the next 18 months, we’re going to be seeing a lot of companies looking for an address," said Dennis Brobston, the executive director at the Saratoga Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit that works to attract businesses to Saratoga County.
Brobston said he and his peers are currently working with a dozen companies who are trying to get contracts with GlobalFoundries and could need office or warehouse space close to GlobalFoundries’ factory, also known as a fab.
Combined, the businesses could bring up to 500 jobs to the area, he said.
John Wheatley, the vice president at EDC Warren County, said he isn’t aware of any immediate prospects but that the agency is nonetheless beginning to see an increase in interest and is expecting more serious inquiries this year.
"There hasn’t been a major flood of activity yet, but there has been an uptick in interest," he said. "The curiosity is definitely there."
Wheatley said that Warren County may not be getting as many serious contacts now simply because suppliers who are getting early contracts need to be as close to the fab as possible.
"A lot of this depends on the supply chain needs and those who are coming first want to be close," he said. "The suppliers of the suppliers may be more flexible though."
Even as interest in the area increases, though, economic development officials fear business’ needs aren’t being met.
In Saratoga County in particular, there is a shortage of flexible space that could accommodate new companies’ office or storage needs, Brobston said.
Though several projects have been proposed or are in the planning stages, delays could push them out of contention and force companies to build new or find temporary homes, he said.
"Companies are coming into this area and they’re asking, ‘That’s it?’" Brobston said.
Among those who are trying to get projects completed in time to accommodate suppliers is developer Howard Carr, who is pushing to build a 100,000-square-foot flex space building to accommodate GlobalFoundries suppliers.
Carr had hoped to locate the $12 million building at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, which is owned by the state and just a mile from the computer-chip maker’s factory.
The plans were withdrawn this month after negotiations with STEP reached an impasse, though Carr said he continues to look for a suitable site in the area.
Carr said the disruption to his plans is frustrating given the known need, and that companies he’s been speaking with may be forced to look elsewhere.
"We’ve got to get a couple of these buildings together," he said. "If we don’t, the question is, ‘Where will the companies go?’"
One developer who has benefited from GlobalFoundries’ ancillary impact is Robert Hayes, who helped coordinate the effort to build the new 20,000-square-foot office building that KLA Tencor and Tokyo Electron are moving into now.
The companies, both of which service semiconductor manufacturers, are occupying more than half of the building, while the rest is taken up by Wilber National Bank.
Hayes said the success at the building, called Highpointe, has led him to pursue efforts to build another new building, also in Malta. The plan would be to have the new space up within a year, he said.
"There’s a very small window of opportunity here," Hayes said. "We want to take advantage of that opportunity."