November 08, 2010

EYP Leaves Downtown Albany For Nanotech Campus

By: by Robin Cooper, The Business Review


EYP Architecture and Engineering will move its headquarters and operations to the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The college said today that 130 EYP engineers, architects, executives and support staff will relocate to the CNSE campus beginning next year. The firm's energy division has been operating at the NanoTech campus since December 2009.

The announcement came this afternoon after The Business Review reported in this week's edition that EYP was planning to leave its downtown Albany location where it has been since 1978.

An EYP spokeswoman said earlier this week that the company's growth had made its downtown headquarters cramped.

The move is expected to help EYP expand its workforce and gain an edge in growing its market for designing and engineering energy-efficient buildings.

CNSE and EYP also plan to create a high-tech incubator that will house 20 to 30 emerging technology companies, employing more than 200 people over the next five years.

The incubator will be developed by renovating under-utilized downtown office space in Albany, Troy and Schenectady.

"Our decision to remain and grow in this region was made possible by our ability to locate at CNSE's world-class Albany NanoTech Complex," said EYP President and CEO Tom Birdsey. "That will give us a competitive advantage in the growing market for green building design and engineering."

Alain Kaloyeros, CEO and senior vice president of CNSE said the NanoTech center's partnership with EYP will attract more renewable energy technology to the state.

Mayor Jerry Jennings said he'd heard "grumbling" in recent weeks that EYP was considering a move out of downtown.

"I'm not happy anytime we lose a business from downtown," Jennings said.

The mayor said he's proud of the success at CNSE and how much it has grown, but he's not pleased with losing a private business to tax-exempt property.

"I have to know what the playing field is," Jennings said. "Am I competing with them to recruit business for the downtown?"

The city still is trying to develop a long-term plan to fill the Harriman campus, he said.

In developing that plan, Jennings said an agreement was reached that the city would not raid or seek to attract companies from nearby communities.

"It was for new development," he said.

And Jennings said he believes a similar arrangement should exist for the CNSE complex.

Jennings said he believes that the city, state leaders and CNSE all need to sit down and develop a strategy about how they can work together.

"They [CNSE] can't continue to operate on their own," he said.

CNSE spokesman Steve Janack said EYP's decision to move to the college campus is a success story.

"The bottom line is we saved a corporate headquarters from leaving Albany," Janack said.

Two large manufacturers have announced plans to move their headquarters out of Albany County.

Janack said CNSE's rental structure is designed specifically to avoid competition with area downtowns and private landlords. CNSE charges rent that is 75 percent higher than most downtown commercial properties, he said. (Janack said that CNSE does not publicly release its exact rate structure.)

"They needed additional space," Janack said of EYP. "That's what it boils down to."

Being located on the campus also will give EYP access to CNSE resources, companies, research and technology that are not available anywhere else, Janack added.

EYP spokeswoman Kelly Donahue said the company had opportunities to relocate within the region, leave the state and renew its downtown lease. But the CNSE site presented the best opportunity to help the firm's longterm growth strategy.

Read more: EYP leaves downtown Albany for NanoTech campus | The Business Review