Reports: N.Y. in hunt for 'Azalea' computer plant

Early speculation linked project to Wafer Tech site in Camas

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he may soon make a major economic announcement for upstate New York, as published reports said a computer plant code-named Project Azalea was in negotiations to create 1,000 jobs. Numerous reports have speculated that competition for that plant was between Oregon and New York, with some early speculation that the WaferTech site in Camas was a possible contender.

"I don't know if it will come to fruition or not," Cuomo said Wednesday at a news conference. But "we may come up with a big economic development piece."

Cuomo, a Democrat, refused to say anything about the project at which he hinted. He said he has assigned top staffers to the issue. On the task are Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, who is Cuomo's top representative, and Budget Director Robert Megna, who could create a tax-incentive deal.

In February, The Oregonian newspaper quoted

Oregon's economic development director as saying that state was competing with upstate New York and other states for Project Azalea. Camas was considered a possible site because of industry speculation that WaferTech's parent company, Taiwan Silicon Manufacturing Co., was considering construction of a new fabrication plant. While TSMC's plans for a possible new plant in Camas are not known, it now appears that possible expansion in Camas is unrelated to Project Azalea.

The Oregonian said New York was offering "tens of millions" of dollars to win Project Azalea, a tax package Oregon probably couldn't match.

"We're competing with the state of New York," said Tim McCabe, director of Oregon's state economic development agency. "They're going to put tens of millions … on the table. What we'll put out there will be dwarfed by what New York's able to do."

In reality, New York has provided incentive packages worth hundreds of millions of dollars spread over several years.

The Oregon newspaper reported that Project Azalea includes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The Business Review of Albany has written about Project Azalea for months. It stated Azalea would be larger than the $4.6 billion Global Foundries computer chip plant in Saratoga County. Global Foundries employs 2,000 people and is growing.

Spokesmen for Cuomo and the state economic development agency declined to comment.

The Columbian staff contributed to this report.