ALBANY, N.Y. — As the Cuomo administration launched its $1.5 billion Nano Utica computer chip manufacturing and research center last week, it also was quietly seeking developers for a similar facility in Syracuse.
Like the Utica facility, which is being built at the SUNY Institute of Technology, the Syracuse chip center would be modeled after the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, at which chip companies like IBM and Intel do cutting-edge research in partnership with the school through programs totalling $17 billion.
Although it was created at the University at Albany, the NanoCollege recently won approval to become independent as it seeks to replicate its model in other upstate cities. Through nondescript entities that it operates in conjunction with the Research Foundation for SUNY, the NanoCollege has been aggressively acquiring real estate property from Albany to Rochester, setting up semiconductor research labs inside and convincing promising high-tech firms to locate their research and manufacturing there.
At SUNY-IT, the NanoCollege has been building a $125 million center that will focus on computer chip "packaging" technologies that encase individual chips and connect them to the electronic devices that they power. On Thursday, Cuomo officials announced that they have put together a consortium of six companies that will locate at the center, spending $1.5 billion and hiring up to 1,000 people who will work on new packaging technologies, including those with the capacity for chips to be stacked on top of one another, increasing their computing power.
It is unclear what NanoCollege officials have in mind for the Syracuse area. During the first week of October, an entity called the Fort Schuyler Management Corp. that controls the NanoCollege's operations at SUNY-IT made available to local developers its vision for the Syracuse center, which like Nano Utica, would have research, manufacturing and economic development components.
No word yet on which developers are interested in the proposal, which would likely need an educational component to fit in with Cuomo's strategy of using the SUNY system to attract high-tech employers. NanoCollege officials could not be reached for comment Monday.
The NanoCollege already created an outpost in Syracuse in 2010 called the Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Excelerator in an old GE building. It is unclear how that operation might fit in with Cuomo's new plans for the city.
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