‘Our Erie Canal moment;’ Micron pledges $100 billion investment in Central NY facility

‘Our Erie Canal moment;’ Micron pledges $100 billion investment in Central NY facility

That little chip being held by Gov. Kathy Hochul is what Micron's $100 billion investment in a new manufacturing facility in Onondaga County is all about
That little chip being held by Gov. Kathy Hochul is what Micron’s $100 billion investment in a new manufacturing facility in Onondaga County is all about (photo provided by the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul).

Micron, the world’s fourth-largest producer of semiconductors, has pledged to invest $100 billion over the next 20-plus years on a manufacturing facility in the Syracuse suburb of Clay, bringing thousands of jobs and a major boost to the Central New York economy.

Lured to New York after more than a year of courting by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer — and up to $5.5 billion in state tax credits, plus additional county and federal incentives — Micron is expected to hire up to 9,000 people, with another 40,000 jobs created throughout the community, according to government estimates.

“This is our Erie Canal moment,” Schumer said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “This is the largest private investment in New York history, and probably in the nation.”

Micron intends to establish leading-edge memory manufacturing to meet consumer, industrial and business demands. Semiconductors serve as the brains of electronics and are critical to U.S. economic growth, national security and the ability to compete in a global economy.

The facility will be built on 1,400 acres in the White Pine Commerce Park and include a 2.4 million square foot clean room, the equivalent of 40 football fields.

“This will be known as the investment of the century,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said his Boise-based firm chose Central New York for expansion because of a diverse talent pool; the education system; reliable, clean power and water; an alignment with Micron’s sustainability goals; a history of semiconductor development and manufacturing in the region; and, obviously, the support from the state.

“The combined efforts at the federal, state, and local level paved the way for Micron to realize the largest private investment ever made in New York state history,” Mehrotra said. “We are thrilled to make this significant investment in New York, making the Empire State the location of the biggest leading-edge memory site in the U.S.”

Schumer had begun to extol the virtues of New York to Mehrotra in the spring of 2021. Passage of the CHIPS and Science Act over the summer helped cement the deal. The bill provides $52 billion in federal incentives to spur American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, as well as workforce training.

“Without the CHIPS and science bill,” Schumer said, “some politician in France or Germany or China — and not us — would be announcing to the world that they had secured a new mammoth chip fab for their nation and the economy.”

The 9,000 jobs at Micron will pay, on average, more than $100,000. Construction of the facility will employ thousands of trades workers, and up to 40,000 private industry jobs will be created in the first three decades or operation as a result of the new plant, according to Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI).

“Those building trades workers are going to continue to buy houses, invest in our communities, raise their kids here — there are children that aren’t even born yet that will be working in this project,” Hochul said. “And the over 50,000 indirect jobs (that will be created) over time. This is as large as a town.”

Last summer, Samsung spurned the courting by Genesee County and state officials to build a $17 billion semiconductor plant outside of Batavia. Samsung chose Tyler, Texas, instead. On Tuesday state officials celebrated a victory of even larger proportions.

State Sen. Jeremy Cooney said Micron’s arrival may be just the beginning of a advanced manufacturing growth spurt.

This is a huge win, not just for Central New York, but all of Upstate,” Cooney said. “As the lead sponsor of the NYS Green CHIPS Act, I am thrilled to see what will hopefully be the first of many large-scale job-creating investments along the Thruway corridor. Moreover, this announcement proves New York is competitive with the rest of the nation when attracting advanced manufacturing back to American shores. If you want to re-populate upstate cities, then we need good paying jobs; and this is a giant step forward.”

A business-friendly environment is part of the equation.

“Micron’s commitment is a huge win for Central and Upstate New York,” Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Robert Duffy said in a prepared statement. “Congratulations to Sen. Schumer, Gov. Hochul, Onondaga County Executive (Ryan) McMahon, CenterState CEO President and CEO Rob Simpson, and their teams on attracting this massive investment, which will lead to tens of thousands of jobs and positive economic reverberations for the entire Upstate area.

“Greater Rochester Chamber and our partners in economic development are continuing to encourage this type of investment in the Finger Lakes region by supporting policies that make it easier to live, work, and do business.”

Schumer’s office said the benefit-cost ratio is approximately 20:1, meaning for every $1 of public money invested, Micron will directly spend $20 on capital investment, research and development, and wages and benefits.

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