June 25, 2024

WNY prepared to submit tech hub bid when application period starts


A regional collaboration spanning the Western New York and Rochester areas has been in the works for well over a year, even before the federal government passed the CHIPS Act.

Invest Buffalo Niagara CEO Tom Kucharski said while Congress has now passed the bill, the organization is still waiting on regulations.

“We’re prepared to submit an application as soon as we know what we’re applying for,” he said.

The legislation among other things includes $10 billion to establish regional tech hubs as the government incentivizes the expansion of the semiconductor microchip industry. Kucharski believes with the workforce, the public and private university system, geography, natural resources and more, the region is well-positioned.

“All of those and then some and all of the private companies have to come together and come up with a proposal that demonstrates in a competitive process at the federal level that we have the assets for them to designate a hub and make the investment in our community,” he said.

A major part of the bid will be the STAMP campus Genesee County, a 1,250 acre shovel ready site where tech companies can build.

“We probably have six or seven NDAs with companies right now where we’re doing due diligence on STAMP,” Kucharski said.

Kucharski couldn’t say whether Micron considered the site for its new chip factory. The company is building in Central New York, potentially investing billion and bringing tens of thousands of jobs to upstate New York.

The CEO said regardless, it’s a boon for the Western New York tech hub bid and STAMP.

“We’ve actually planned it to be nimble enough that if we didn’t land a big fab we could actually be a supplier.”

He said attracting suppliers and research and development could potentially mean even more job creation than just getting a large semiconductor factory. Right now, they’re just waiting on a green light to send the application.

“I’d like to hope it’s before November and then we have an election and then we’ll see what happens afterward but I think there’s strong sentiment that this goes forward,” Kucharski said.

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