State, local officials break ground on $600 million Alcoa modernization project in Massena; 1,000 jobs retained
Monday, July 1, 2013 - 5:31 pm

Local, state and federal politicians joined Alcoa and New York Power Authority officials at the groundbreaking of Massena Alcoa East modernization project Monday. In addition to the groundbreaking, the company also presented $10 million to NYPA, for the North Country Economic Development Fund.

MASSENA – State and local officials, including Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, broke ground today for the more than $600 million Alcoa East Aluminum facility modernization and upgrade project.

The project is expected to retain approximately 1,000 jobs at the facility.

Alcoa officials also presented the New York Power Authority with a $10 million check to capitalize the North Country Economic Development Fund. The fund was created through an agreement between Alcoa and NYPA.

“Massena has reason to celebrate the latest developments at Alcoa,” said Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray.

“It means job security at the company’s smelters and the possibility of new jobs in other businesses and enterprises from the $10 million North Country Economic Development Fund. We’re thankful to Alcoa, Governor Cuomo and the Power Authority for all that they’ve done in moving the Alcoa East modernization forward, along with the associated initiatives.”

Said Lt. Gov. Duffy, “Alcoa’s expansion for their Massena facility is great news for the local community and will mean new jobs and economic development.”

The state’s commitment to supply 478 megawatts of low-cost electricity led to Alcoa’s investment and modernization plans.

“The importance of Alcoa to the North Country’s economy cannot be overstated,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee and long-time resident of Massena. “The stability and success of the company’s Massena facilities are integrally tied to the well-being of Northern New York. It’s all about protecting and growing jobs for our economy.”

Under the contract, which was entered into in 2009, Alcoa committed to protect nearly a thousand jobs at its Massena facilities and undertake capital investments of at least $600 million, of which $42 million is currently being spent on site preparation for a new aluminum production potline at the Massena East plant.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a major step forward for the modernization project of the Alcoa facility in Massena,” Gov. Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “Alcoa is a world-class company that is continuing to spur economic development and make investments in the community. Under this project, 1,000 jobs will be retained. New York State looks forward to building upon this partnership with Alcoa to grow the economy of the North Country region for years to come.”

Alcoa was NYPA’s first customer, having signed its original power supply contract in 1955, more than three years prior to the operation of the St. Lawrence-FDR plant—NYPA’s first generating facility. The electricity supplied to the company’s Massena smelters accounts for approximately 60 percent of the generating facility’s total output.

Alcoa is the largest private employer north of Syracuse.

The North Country Economic Development Loan Fund is available to manufacturers, agri-business, clean/green and bio-tech, assemblers, wholesale distributors, warehouses, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), or not-for-profit entities for the purpose of revitalization.

Retail/market applicants may also be eligible but must meet special criteria in order to be considered for a loan.

The North Country Economic Development Fund is one element of the long-term NYPA-Alcoa hydropower contract, which extends to 2045, and if certain conditions are met, Alcoa may exercise an option to extend service for 10 years beyond 2045.

Applicants can request a loan for a number of purposes, including, acquisition of land, building construction and rehabilitation, purchase of machinery. For every $15,000 loaned from the fund, at least one job must be created or retained.

Interested businesses and not-for-profits can request an application by email at [email protected] or by calling 315-661-3200.

"Alcoa is pleased to work with the State of New York and the community to ensure that we remain an integral part of the North Country's economic development," said U.S. Primary Products President John D. Martin. "Alcoa's commitment to the North Country Economic Development Fund and an Alcoa Foundation grant for workforce development will help build the region's workforce and provide opportunities to energize the economy."

“Today’s Alcoa groundbreaking and check presentation demonstrate that when government and industry work together, the outcome is greater than what either could have achieved individually,” said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman. “Alcoa’s embarking on the Massena East modernization is a major milestone for Northern New York, and clear statement of its commitment to the region and of the common purpose to protect and create jobs.”

“The Alcoa East groundbreaking is a shining example of Governor Cuomo’s support of public-private partnerships that are the key to innovative economic development,” said Gil C. Quinones, NYPA president and chief executive office. “The 478 megawatts of low-cost hydropower generated in Massena at NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR power plant will preserve hundreds of local jobs and provide millions of dollars in investment, for years to come. Alcoa’s commitment of $10 million for the North Country Economic Development Fund will ensure that the entire region benefits from this project.”

Sen. Joseph Griffo said, “Alcoa, NYPA and the North Country have forged creative solutions in tough economic times for bringing about the modernization of Alcoa’s Massena East facility. By establishing and generously funding the NCEDF, the company has also made a strong statement about its commitment to economic development in the region.”

Sen. Patricia Ritchie said, “Today is a great day in the North Country. Great thanks to Governor Cuomo and his team at the Power Authority for their unwavering commitment to Alcoa’s modernization project and for making possible further economic development benefits for our region’s economy.”

Assemblywoman Addie Russell said, “Today’s groundbreaking is the culmination of years of planning, negotiation and cooperation by New York State, the North Country and Alcoa to secure the future of aluminum production in Massena. With the announcement of the North Country Economic Development Fund, we begin the next chapter in helping businesses thrive.”