The local economy has received a nudge in the right direction with an area employer saying it is going to bring 30 jobs to the northwest part of Niskayuna. Package One’s decision to move into the former Nova Bus Plant site has not yet been approved by town officials, but is expected to meet with smooth sailing after they submit a certificate of occupancy spelling out the details of their operation.
Under its recently announced deal, Package One plans to lease 20,000 square feet of space that once housed a major bus assembly facility.
The long narrow factory space sprawls over 200 acres on Niskayuna’s Hillside Avenue. It was built during the Korean War to produce tanks for the army. After the war, Cundack built military equipment there for years.
Despite its length, there are no columns inside the building, which makes it ideally suited for straight-line assembly production, which is part of what Nova liked when it was there.
The Nova Bus plant was shut down when the company closed its domestic facilities in 2002 after the firm’s sales soured. Their cavernous 190,000 square-foot plant was the largest facility of its kind in the Capital District and had hundreds of employees before the company ceased operation.
Since then, town officials have made bringing new employers to the space neighboring the Niskayuna Tech Park a key economic priority. Package One has committed to hiring 30 new employees in the next three years under terms announced by Metroplex Development Authority chairman Ray Gillen. Two other firms, Contec Holdings LLC and TCT, Inc., have already pledged to move some of their operations to the Niskayuna location. The local school district also uses a portion of the former plant as the maintenance site for its fleet of school buses.
Contec is a world-renowned leader in the repair of digital cable boxes and has already begun using a portion of the facility. TCT plans to move much of its operations from Geneva, Ontario County, to the Niskayuna site in the near future. It is considered a major player in rubber recycling market.
Two years ago we rezoned property in the northwest corner of town to office technology so that we could encourage companies to move in, explained town Supervisor Luke Smith. `So far other companies have been using more than two-thirds of the space that Nova used and this will take up the rest of the space.`
For decades, much of the local economy has been built around General Electric and its research facilities in the area. Eight months ago those activities received a major boost when GE Energy unveiled plans to pump $5 million into its Energy Learning Center in Niskayuna. Under an agreement with the Schenectady County Industrial Development Authority, the value of that investment will be gradually added to the tax rolls over the next 10 years.
Gillen said that Metroplex tried to fill the plant and develop adjoining acreage as a technology center to complement a cluster of existing tech companies that include General Electric’s Global Research and Energy Learning Centers, SI Group, and Environment One.
Smith said, `Now that the former Nova Bus plant is filled, we will turn our attention to the careful development of the Niskayuna Tech Park as part of an effort to create jobs and new tax revenue for our community.`
Tony Gray contributed to this story.“