Schumer, Mcnulty Meet With Secretary Of The Army To Press Him On Future Of Watervliet Arsenal - Secretary Receptive To Expanding Arsenal Into Hub For Hi-Tech Growth Across The Cap Region

In Meeting this Morning, Schumer and McNulty Successful Secured Agreement for Secretary Geren to Visit the Arsenal and See First-Hand the Plans to Bring Private Companies and Jobs to the Site Last Month, Schumer, McNulty Visited Arsenal and Pressed Army to Jumpstart Plan that Protects 800 Army Civilian Jobs and Greatly Expands Private High Tech Development

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Mike McNulty met with Secretary of the Army Pete Geren regarding the future of the Watervliet Arsenal and successfully secured an agreement for the Secretary to visit the Arsenal and see firsthand plans to transform it into a hitech hub for the Capital Region. During the meeting this morning, Schumer and McNulty pressed Secretary Geren for the Army to approve a plan to transform the Arsenal into a hightech campus run by a local Capital Region economic development corporation. Also present at the meeting were staff representatives from Senator Clinton and Congresswoman Gillibrand's offices, as well as Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning and Arsenal Partnership President Tony Gaetano.


The Congressmen announced today that the Secretary was very receptive to the plan and will be visiting the Arsenal in the near future to tour the facility and examine plans on how it will be transformed into a technology hub that will lure new businesses and jobs to the region, while protecting the current 800 Army civilian jobs at the location.


"Today's meeting was a key step in pushing the Army to expand the Watervliet Arsenal into a hitech hub, so that we can continue to bring goodpaying, cuttingedge jobs to the Capital Region," said Senator Schumer. "We strongly believe that once Secretary Geren visits the Arsenal and has a firsthand look, he'll see that it's a nobrainer to turn this facility over to the local economic development corporation.  It's good for the local economy and it will enable the core cannon mission to be leaner and meaner."


"This was a very productive meeting," said McNulty.  "Secretary Geren said 'I want to make this work.'"


"I'm very happy with today's meeting with Secretary Geren, and I thank Senator Schumer and Congressman McNulty for taking direct action on this important issue," said Mayor Mike Manning. "I think I speak for all the residents of Watervliet when I say I look forward to bringing Secretary Geren to our city so he can have a firsthand look at this vital project. I will continue working collaboratively with the Congressional delegation and the military."


In 2001, the Army contracted with the Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership (AP), a local not for profit development corporation created local elected officials in cooperation with the Arsenal, to attract new companies to the Arsenal. Since the agreement, the AP has already attracted more than 20 companies to the site, including international high tech giants such as M+W Zander, Vistec Lithography, and Hartchrom US. Local startups, Solid Sealing Technologies and Extreme Molding LLC, have exploded from 2 to more than 50 employees.


In 2005 a BRAC Commission recommended that the military provide millions to consolidate the Arsenal facilities and build new hightech labs. The plan has the potential to bring 1,500 jobs to the region and will hand over approximately 100 acres of the 144 acre site to local authorities for continued private development. The plan strengthens the case for keeping the cannon mission and nearly 800 Army civilian jobs at Watervliet, and greatly expands the dramatic private high tech development underway there.


Despite the recommendation, the plan still needs to be approved.


Last month, Schumer and McNulty personally visited the Arsenal and called for the military to approve a plan that would spend millions to transform the Watervliet Arsenal into a hitech campus that could bring an estimated 1,500 new jobs to the Capital Region. A 2005 BRAC Commission recommended that the military provide millions to consolidate the Arsenal facilities and build new hightech labs.


Today, Schumer and McNulty continued their efforts to push the Army to approve the plan and turn over control of the sprawling arsenal campus to a local development corporation that will have the authority and expertise to integrate the existing facilities with the region's high tech corridor and University of Albany's nanotechnology.


In a meeting this morning with Army Secretary Geren, the Congressmen upped their efforts for the Army to approve the plan, an idea that Secretary Geren was very receptive to. In addition, the Congressmen successfully secured an agreement for the Secretary to personally visit the Arsenal in the near future so he can get a closer look at the plan to transform it into a hitech hub.


The proposed plan will not affect the arsenal's core mission of manufacturing our nation's cannons, but rather will allow for the development of vacant and unused campus space into cuttingedge tech facilities. The development corporation has already attracted more than 20 companies and hundreds of jobs to the site, including international high tech giants such as M+W Zander, Vistec Lithography, and Hartchrom US.


Schumer and McNulty have argued that's it essential for the military to follow through on the BRAC Commission's recommendations and approving the plan and begin executing it.


Working as the designated site manager and sole economic developer for the U.S. Army's TankAutomotive Armaments Command (TACOM), the Partnership was charged with developing a new Site Master Plan.  The Plan builds on the historic role and Army production and R&D synergies at Watervliet, as well as the Partnership's strong track record of attracting high tech tenants with defenserelated products and services. 


Key highlights of the Site Master Plan include:


  • Preserve and enhance the Army's core mission at the Arsenal


  • Implement the 2005 BRAC Commission recommendations - based on the earlier 2003 Master Plan - to provide millions to consolidate Arsenal facilities and build a new R&D laboratory for Benet Labs, the Army R&D mission at the Arsenal


  • Lower costs of operations and eliminate nonproductive liabilities.


  • Consolidate and upgrade the NY Army National Guard facilities on the site.


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


  • Create 1,500 new private sector jobs by investing millions in over 300,000 sf of new private buildings.


  • Develop a Technology Campus that includes more than 700,000 square feet of new and renovated mixeduse manufacturing, office, and R&D facilities.


  • Pay more than $700,000 annually in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to local municipalities and schools.


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