UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's been years in the making, but Thursday morning, more than 100 area business and community leaders were given a tour of the very first construction site on what will be the new Marcy Nanocenter. That construction site is the future home of the QUAD-C building on the campus of SUNY-IT.
QUAD-C is SUNYIT's Computer Chip Commercialization Center.
After about an hour long presentation inside the SUNY-IT Student Center on what QUAD-C is, the area leaders hit the pavement around 8 A.M.and walked a couple hundred yards, to what is a sight for sore eyes to many, actual concrete and walls being erected.
QUAD-C is the largest single project funded in the first round of the statewide Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) process.
Of the $60.2 million awarded to projects in the Mohawk Valley region, $15 million will go to the Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC) to support the construction of the Quad-C.
FSMC is a private, not-for-profit corporation, formed by the SUNY Research Foundation and the SUNYIT Foundation to facilitate the construction of the Quad-C.
QUAD-C will be a facility where researchers and industry partners will work together to develop and market new forms of nanotechnology.
Ground was broke on the QUAD-C site three months ago on June 26th, and the entire foundation has already been laid and the steel will be in in just two weeks.
The building itself will be more than 250,00 square feet, and the clean room, which will be100 times cleaner than a hospital operating room, will be 50,000 square feet itself, making it the 3rd largest such clean room in the entire world.
QUAD-C is being built by M+W Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, which has built similar nanotechnology buildings in 27 different countries, including the U.S..
M+W Group built the Globalfoundries Technology manufacturing facility in Malta, NY, outside of Albany.
M+W QUAD-C construction site manager D.J. Aln says the construction of such a building is very technical for a number of reasons, including the fact that the clean room must be vibration proof, "The building isolates itself from one section to the other just for that purpose, because there can't be any disturbance in the fab (fabrication room), that's why we have redundant water, redundant power, redundant gas, so the clean room will never shut down regardless of whether here's a catastrophic event."
Aln says the clean room will have two sources of water, power and gas to prevent shutdowns.
Aln took the area business and community leaders on a tour of the construction, "We tried to explain what they're (FSMC) doing, what they're trying to accomplish, what we've done and where we're headed."
Also part of the contingent putting on the tour is The Genesis Group Executive Director, Ray Durso.
Durso says he has come up with a new slogan for the nanocenter project, 'When is Now'.
He says there's a great vibe here in the Mohawk Valley surrounding this project, "For the last several years, everyone's been asking, is it a question of if? Is it a question of when? Well, 'When is Now', so it is very exciting. There is a great buzz going on in this community and in the region."
Mohawk Valley Edge has been instrumental in getting this whole idea of a Marcy Nanocenter off the ground and Mohawk Valley Edge President, Steve DiMeo was also helping lead Thursday's tour, "It's a great time for the Mohawk Valley region, for Upstate. It's a tribute to a lot of hard work by a lot of people and more importantly a long term commitment by the State of New York to keep investing in this industry. Our priority has become Governor Cuomo's priority, and that's great for the Mohawk Valley."
DiMeo says QUAD-C is just the beginning of the construction of what will be the Marcy Nanocenter, "Concurrent with this particular project is the announcement that CNSE (College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the State University of New York at Albany) made, that they would be the end user on the Marcy side which is just on the other side of the road there. That's a 420 acre parcel and that's being planned as a semiconductor manufacturing site."
DiMeo says this nanocenter will be the biggest development here in our area in decades, "This is an interesting time to reinvent the economy. To help the community to reclaim population. To create new and exciting job opportunities."
QUAD-C is expected to house approximately 400 workers, and DiMeo says there are companies who have already committed to being part of this building, but he says he can't say which companies, "There will be announcements coming out on that, and that will come from a higher authority than me. This thing is being built with tenants in place."
Among the area business leaders to take the tour of the QUAD-C construction site on Thursday is Ed Jekel, a realtor with Joseph R. Carucci Real Estate in New Hartford.
Carucci says the Marcy Nanocenter and its potential, is great news for the real estate market and the economy as a whole, "They're talking about adding 5,000 new jobs. That means new houses, it means people moving into the market, that means retail business. It's phenomenal."
A big benefit of having such a nanocenter in our area is that many graduates of local colleges will now be able to stay close to home, instead of moving away for a job, and Carucci says that is music to his ears, "I've got a son right now looking for work. This is great. Kids going to college here will actually be able find someplace locally that they can come to. They love the area and they'll all be looking for work."
SUNYIT junior Paul Perez of Amsterdam says he'd love to get a job at the new Marcy Nanocenter when he graduates in May of 2015, "I actually went into electrical engineering technology because of possibilities of working at Globalfoundries in Malta, but now that there's a facility that's closer it's definitely more likely that I'll be able to remain in the area."
Perez may end up getting into the job market at the right time. Construction of QUAD-C is expected to be complete in December, 2014.