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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Build It and They Will Come: Opportunities Abound in Growing Malta Community

By | Business

MALTA - It would seem that everyone in Saratoga County is aware of the population and economic growth that has spawned from the creation of GlobalFoundries in 2009. But how are these changes affecting the once quiet town of Malta? The differences in the community are being seen everywhere: Hospitals, fire departments and many local businesses are expanding and adding new locations while fresh businesses and restaurants continue popping into town, bringing a newly diverse population to the fastest growing county in the state—and all of this growth isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.


GlobalFoundries submitted a site plan application amendment with the Town of Malta September 17 for a second semiconductor facility at the Fab 8 campus, which will be known as the Technology Development Center (TDC).

“The TDC will enhance [GlobalFoundries’] manufacturing operations and really make the Saratoga County site the hub for their global technology development team,” said Shelby Schneider, director of marketing and economic development specialist at the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC). “At this site, they will be developing technology at least two to three generations ahead of what is being produced now.”

GlobalFoundries was estimated in 2011 to lead to about 6,500 new jobs in the Saratoga County area, at the site, at companies that provide needed services to the site and at local businesses that are the beneficiaries of added income in the area, according to an economic impact study by Everett M. Ehrlich.

Schneider said that GlobalFoundries has already made good on their promise of job creation for the Malta area.

“They started at 1,300 jobs and $3.2 billion in capital investment, and now with their planned expansion that they started this summer, they will have 1,800 direct jobs on site by the year’s end, plus 500 construction workers on site and close to $6.9 billion in capital investment,” she said.

The population growth in the county inspired Albany Med Hospital and Saratoga County Hospital to team up for the $17.5 million project of opening an emergent care center at Exit 12 by Malta. The center, called Malta Med Emergent Care, will be staffed 24/7 by emergency physicians from Albany Med that patients can use as a convenient alternative to hospital emergency rooms for all but the most serious medical circumstances.

“With the addition of GlobalFoundries, the Exit 12 area is projected to continue to experience growth in population and employment,” said Beth Engleman, Albany Med spokesperson. “The Exit 12 site provides easy access for area residents and employees, as well as those who want to get expert care in a convenient location right off the Northway.”

Engleman said that after seeing the immense growth at Albany Med—the number of patients discharged from Albany Med who reside in Saratoga increased by 41 percent from 2003 to 2011—it only made sense to team up with Saratoga County Hospital to keep up with the growth.

“Saratoga Hospital is well-respected within the county and it made more sense to us to see how we could work together, rather than compete. They already owned the land at Exit 12 and were operating an urgent care center in Malta,” she said. “Working together, we have already enhanced the services at Malta Medical Arts on Route 9 by supplying Albany Med emergency physicians to work with the staff at that site.”

Malta Med Emergent Care is projected to open in the spring of 2013, and is just one of the service-businesses that are expanding to the Malta area due to increased need.

The Round Lake Fire Department has joined with the Malta Ridge Fire Department to form a joint department closer to the central Malta area.

A letter of intent to purchase a property located in Parade Ground Village has been agreed to by the involved parties, according to a newsletter from the Malta Town Board.

“Plans to begin the new fire station include forming a not-for-profit corporation, which will build and own the fire station. The corporation, to be known as ‘The Fire Companies of Malta, Inc.’ should be in place by mid-September,” the newsletter said. “The fire department goal is for construction to begin during the 2013 construction season with completion within 1 year. Once completed and occupied, the shared fire station should significantly improve operational efficiencies and fire protection services in the center portion of the town.”

Schneider said new businesses are also flooding the town.

“If you drive down Route 9 in Malta, you will see a lot of new businesses there that weren’t there five or even two years ago,” she said. “SEFCU, Recovery Room, Allerdice Hardware, Minogue’s Beverage Center, Sonny Bonacio’s Self Storage facility, Maple Leaf Daycare Center and Albany Med/Saratoga Hospital’s Medical Center at Exit 12.”

Schneider also added that businesses are finding homes in residential mixed use places such as Ellsworth Commons, Malta Crossings, Commercial and Industrial at The Bluth Building, and the 20 Tech Trail at NYSERDA’s STEP Park.

“Our county’s population continues to grow at about one percent per year, which is healthy,” said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce (SCCC). “But best of all is that the private sector payroll has increased 6 percent in the past two years. This means that the growth measured is not excessive and of great benefit to the many people who have found jobs working in these new businesses.”

New Malta residents have flocked to apartment developments like Ellsworth Commons on Route 9, though the complex declined to comment on their current occupancy rate.

Their occupancy rate was most recently reported at 82 percent, Saratoga TODAY confirmed earlier this July.

Malta resident and “sap commander” of Sugar Oaks Farms, Erich Ruger, said the growth of the town has had both positive and negative affects on his business.

“It attracted a few more people to our Maple Days event in March, but it has also made it harder to find trees to tap in nearby areas,” he said. “And as a resident, all that has happened is that the traffic has gotten worse.”

The growth in Malta and Saratoga County isn’t just bringing extra traffic into town.

In a county in which 94.5 percent of the population is white, according to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, population growth means there will be an increase in diversity as well.

“[Growth] means change,” said Denise Romeo, vice president of member services at SCCC. “What we’re seeing is our community becoming more diverse with folks that live there—new families are moving into the community so their children will be making classrooms more diverse. Different restaurants are popping up that will meet the needs of different cultures.”

Romeo said the community is excited to embrace newcomers in Malta.

“People living [in Malta] have not had that ethnic change, so it’s very exciting but also a little challenging with language barriers and that type of thing,” she said. “But there’s no doubt that our communities are welcoming everyone with open arms.”

Dozens of SCCC members are returning from a trip to Abu Dhabi, the headquarters of GlobalFoundries, where they traveled to learn more about the culture in order to see how they can help employees and education partners prepare for the new ethnic groups and diversity, as well as better understand cultural issues.

“It’s an exciting time in Malta and Saratoga County,” Romeo said. “It’s been the fastest growing county in the state for a long time and this just adds to it.”

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