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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2008

SCHUMER, MCNULTY WIN ARMY'S COMMITMENT TO TURN OVER WATERVLIET ARSENAL PROPERTY TO LOCAL DEVELOPMENT CORP. - SITE CAN NOW EXPAND INTO HUB FOR HIGH-TECH GROWTH ACROSS THE CAPITAL REGION


Over the Past Year, Schumer and McNulty Lobbied Army to Free Up 60+ Acres on Arsenal for High Tech Growth -Integrate Facilities with University of Albany's Nano-Tech and Region's High-Tech Corridor

Prompting Today's Action, the Congressional Leaders Met with Army Secretary Geren in April and Secured Visit of Watervliet Arsenal Campus in May

Victory Is Fitting Cap Stone to Congressman McNulty's Twenty Year Legacy Of Advocacy For The Watervliet Arsenal

In a huge victory for the Capital Region, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Michael McNulty today announced they had successfully won approval of an agreement from the United States Army to transform more than 60 acres of the Watervliet Arsenal into a high-tech campus run by the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership. Schumer and McNulty lobbied hard over the past year to secure the approval, first meeting with Secretary of the Army Pete Geren in DC in April and then bringing him in May to the tour the Arsenal and review the development sites firsthand.

 

After months of cooperative negotiation between the parties, today the Army announced that the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) proposal by the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership, has won the open competitive process to operate on over 60 acres of the site.

 

“During these tough economic times winning such a major investment that will spur hundreds of new, good-paying jobs is just what the doctor ordered,” Schumer said. “Securing this lease for the local development corporation will allow the Capital Region to expand its high-tech growth and make sure we have a lean, mean core cannon mission.”

 

“I am so glad that this was able to get done before Congressman Mike McNulty retires. Mike has been a tireless advocate for the Arsenal for twenty years and he is truly deserving of such a proud victory for the region he has served so well.   I think Mike first mentioned the Watervliet Arsenal to me when I was still a congressman from Brooklyn, and it has been my pleasure to work with him on this issue ever since I became Senator.   It isn’t his style to brag, but I can tell you how passionately he has fought to preserve this facility as a keystone of our nation’s defense and as a vibrant employer for the region.” Schumer added.

 

“The Arsenal is about to enter a new era.  New high tech companies and jobs are going to join the Arsenal’s cannon experts to create a great new enterprise.  For the last five years, we have been working together with the Army to plan the best way to make this happen.  Over the last eight months, the Partnership has reshaped our vision and won the Army’s vote of confidence.  Now, the entire Army command and our entire community are jointly committed to a single blueprint for the future.  The future looks great,” said Congressman Michael R. McNulty.

 

In 2001, the Army contracted with the Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership (Partnership), a local not for profit development corporation created by state, federal and local elected officials and business leaders in cooperation with the Arsenal, to attract new companies to the Arsenal. Since it’s founding, the Partnership has attracted more than 20 companies and over 200 jobs to the site, currently managing approximately 250,000 square feet of vacant space.

 

Since 2001, the Partnership has invested more than $80 million in building renovations, infrastructure projects and marketing.  The Partnership has attracted international high tech giants such as M+W Zander, Vistec Lithography, and Hartchrom US.  Local start-ups, Solid Sealing Technologies and Extreme Molding, have also exploded from 2 to more than 50 employees.  The Partnership, under the direction of Tony Gaetano, has been so successful that by 2008 they were running out of available space to attract additional companies and jobs.

 

Just last week the Partnership, along with Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, Senator Schumer and Congressman McNulty announced the official opening of Vistec Lithography at the site. Vistec is a cutting edge nanotechnology equipment supplier, and they moved their global headquarters and manufacturing facilities from England to Watervliet. The move transformed an unused manufacturing building built in 1918 into a modern complex that includes 13,000 square feet of clean room space as part of the 30,000 square feet Vistec occupies.

 

This additional acreage under the EUL will allow the Partnership, for the first time, to construct new buildings on site, as well as renovate over 300,000 additional square feet. The Partnership is also proposing to build and operate a new Co-Generation Power Plant to bring much needed lower-cost and “green” energy to the Army and tenants. .

 

Schumer and McNulty met with Secretary Geren in Washington, DC in April of 2008, urging him to personally visit the campus and to make additional land and buildings available for commercial use.  In May, all three men toured the Arsenal and agreed to work together to find as solution that would allow the further development of the site while at the same time preserving the facility’s core mission of manufacturing our nation’s cannon.

 

Both Schumer and McNulty praised Secretary Geren and his team for working with them and the local community to find a solution that meets the goals of both the military and the region.

 

“I have known Pete Geren for twenty years.  In fact, we were in the same freshman class in the House of Representatives in 1989.  He has always been an outstanding public servant and someone who really takes time and effort in solving tough problems.   This was not easy to rectify, but he saw to it that everybody on his team listened to our case and ultimately found a solution that we all think will be a tremendous benefit,” said Congressman McNulty.

 

“Secretary Geren is an extremely talented administrator, but more than that, he is a stand up guy.  I really appreciate his personal attention to the plight of the Watervliet Arsenal,” Schumer added. 

 

Today, Schumer and McNulty joined Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army William Birney, Enhanced Use Lease program director Robert Penn, Col. Scott N. Fletcher, Tony Gaetano, and Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning in announcing the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership was awarded the Enhanced Use Lease by the Army, opening more than 60 new acres for development and approving the development corporation’s plan.

 

“The Army’s selection of the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership to run the EUL proves what we already knew, that Tony Gaetano and his team are a tremendously talented and visionary group.   They have already created hundreds of jobs in limited space and are perfectly situated to tap into the high tech growth that we have seen throughout Tech Valley,” said Senator Schumer. 

 

Key highlights of the EUL include:

 

  • Develop a Technology Campus that includes more than 550,000 square feet of new and renovated mixed-use manufacturing, office, and R&D facilities.

 

  • Open more than 60 acres of currently unused space for business development.

 

  • Create 1,000 new private sector jobs.

 

  • Lower costs of operations, eliminate non-productive liabilities, and improve site’s aged infrastructure.

 

  • Continue to integrate Watervliet into the Tech Valley economy and attract new high tech, R&D, manufacturing, and Homeland Security companies to the site.

 

  • Facilitate opportunities for private companies to partner with Benet Labs; Work with the New York Army National Guard on future of their facilities.

   

  • Make Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to local municipalities and schools.

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