Micron to build massive Syracuse, N.Y., factory; Schumer hails ‘Erie Canal moment’

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The Micron computer chip company plans to build a sprawling factory near Syracuse that would cost up to $100 billion over two decades, create almost 50,000 jobs and amount to the largest private investment in the history of New York, officials said Tuesday.

Detailing the project in a triumphant news conference at Syracuse University, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Boise-based tech giant is “walking in from the cornfields” for a project that represents a 21st century “Erie Canal moment.”

Micron said it will build the plant in the town of Clay, about 10 miles outside Syracuse, and that construction will begin in 2024 following prep work next year. The blueprint calls for a factory that would cover some 40 football fields and include the largest cleanroom, or dust-free engineering space, in the U.S.

“It’s almost an understatement to say today is a great day,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday. “It is a transformative day: a great day for Syracuse, a great day for upstate New York, and a great day for America.”

At the news conference, Gov. Hochul described the project as “stunning in its scale” and said it would be “life-changing” for the people of New York. She called it the “investment of the century.”

The project was supercharged by bipartisan legislation, shepherded through the Senate by Schumer and signed by President Biden, that authorized more than $50 billion in semiconductor manufacturing investments.

And it was boosted by a New York law signed by Hochul that created incentives of up to $10 billion for eco-friendly semiconductor manufacturing projects. Micron’s plan for the plant includes commitments to use 100% renewable electricity and to aim for zero landfill waste, among other green pledges.

Micron’s chief executive, Sanjay Mehrotra, credited both the passage of the federal measure, called the CHIPS and Science Act, and the state Green CHIPS law for making the Clay project possible.

He said his company explored building in the Syracuse area over the last year, noting that Hochul’s enthusiasm for the region was “infectious.” The governor, a Buffalo Democrat, studied at Syracuse University.

New York State committed up to $5.5 billion in Green CHIPS tax credits for the Micron plant, tying the incentives to job targets, Hochul’s office said. Onondaga County, which covers Clay, will chip in $25 million in grants, according to the governor’s office.

It was not immediately clear how much federal funding would go toward the factory.

The U.S. is working to become more competitive with China in cutting-edge technology manufacturing amid sour relations between Washington and Beijing.

And New York emerged as a major winner from the federal package. The plant in Clay is expected to be the largest semiconductor manufacturing investment in U.S. history, according to Micron.

In a statement, Biden described the project as a “win for America,” and said the U.S. is growing its economy “from the bottom up and the middle out.”

“To those who doubted that America could dominate the industries of the future, I say this – you should never bet against the American people,” the president said in the statement.

Hochul said the rollout of the Micron project brought a “magical” moment to the center of New York State.

“The economic future of New York State is now beyond imagination,” the governor said, scoffing playfully at other states’ infrastructure projects. “This is New York State. Everything we do is bigger, bolder and ultimately better.”