SLINGERLANDS — Plug Power Inc., a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions for the global green hydrogen economy, is proposing to establish a 350,000-square-foot base of operation at Vista Technology Park.
The publicly-owned Latham-based company has eyes for the technology park. A proposal in front of the Bethlehem Planning Board shows plans to build office space, manufacturing and warehousing facilities at the end of the Vista Boulevard roundabout.
Columbia Development, the Albany real estate development firm that first broke ground on the tech park in 2011, is expected to speak before board members this evening, Tuesday, Nov. 16.
The firm proposes an expansive development named 125 Vista Boulevard that will encompass 26 acres, which would triple the amount of development since the tech park first opened. Construction will include 50,000 square feet of offices, 85,000 square feet for manufacturing, 100,000 square feet for assembly and service, plus 115,000 square feet for storage.
According to the proposal, the facility is projected to employ nearly 700 people. Plug Power was not named within the proposal, but the company’s involvement was later confirmed by Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven following initial press coverage by the Times Union.
“I am thrilled with the announcement that Plug Power has committed to building its new manufacturing complex in Bethlehem’s Vista Park,” VanLuven shared Tuesday in an online statement. “The Town worked closely with the Albany County Executive’s office and Columbia Development to make this project — promising 700 jobs in a 350,000-square-foot facility — possible. It’s a perfect fit for Vista.”
Plug Power technology powers electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells. According to the company’s website, it created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology after it was founded in 1997. The company’s GenKey technology powers forklifts for various customers, including Amazon, BMW, The Southern Company, Carrefour and Walmart. According to several reports, the company’s headquarters will remain on Albany Shaker Road in Latham.
Development of the project will require subdivision, site plan and variance approvals from both the Town of Bethlehem and Town of New Scotland.
According to Robert Leslie, Bethlehem’s director of economic development and planning, the tech park’s master plan approval previously included an Environmental Impact Statement that evaluated potential impacts and mitigation measures associated with approximately 1.4 million square feet of development. Nonetheless, the Planning Board will need to determine if the proposal conforms with that master plan.
To date, 107,500 square feet of office and commercial property have been developed at the park. Should plans proceed, Plug Power will be the first technology company since the tech park opened a decade ago. The park’s courtship with Monolith Solar all but failed. The solar cell manufacturing company fell under financial hardship in 2018, but not before breaking ground on a new $5 million headquarters at the tech park. Its steel skeleton and surrounding property were later foreclosed and are under the possession of Pioneer Bank.
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