By Cameron Chai
EYP Architecture and Engineering PC (EYP) of Albany announced plans to establish and expand its headquarters and operations at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. The move is likely to help EYP expand its workforce and help it acquire better market opportunities 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.
It is estimated that by the beginning of early 2011, more than 130 EYP staff will relocate at EYP's new expanded headquarters at CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex, joining members of the EYP/energy group, which opened an office at the UAlbany NanoCollege last year.
EYP President and CEO Tom Birdsey said, "As an Albany-based firm with deep local roots, EYP is excited to have found the perfect home for its headquarters at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. 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, which accommodates our critical needs for additional space and access to state-of-the-art resources and technologies that will give us a competitive advantage in the growing market for green building design and engineering. We are thrilled with the opportunity to build our partnership with CNSE, and look forward to the additional job growth and business opportunities it will afford EYP."
CNSE Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros said, "The UAlbany NanoCollege is excited to welcome the headquarters and operations of EYP, recognized worldwide as a leader in architecture, engineering and design of high-tech green energy facilities, to CNSE's ever-expanding Albany NanoTech Complex. The growing partnership between EYP and CNSE will enhance the leading-edge capabilities that are essential to accelerate the integration of innovative clean and renewable energy technologies, and in turn position CNSE and New York State as a desired location for the further attraction of green collar jobs, companies and investment in the future. We also look forward to working with EYP to launch a high-tech incubator for the attraction and spin-off of IT and energy companies at an appropriate downtown location in the Tri-City area."
At CNSE, EYP will have access to development and testing of nanomaterials and nanoelectronics for clean energy technologies such as fuel cells, solar photovoltaic cells, ultra-capacitors and power electronics integral to building design and operation. It will also have opportunities to avail of the training modules at CNSE that will equip building designers, architects and operators to utilize nanoscale-enabled sensors, controls and other innovations for the construction and operation of high-tech facilities.
EYP and CNSE formed a partnership by jointly establishing, the National Institute for Sustainable Energy ("NISE") in January 2007. This world-class center has been involved in developing zero energy and sustainability research and development, business advancement, commercialization and workforce training and cost a whopping $3.5 million. Those efforts were enhanced by the opening of an EYP/energy office at CNSE last December, as well as the launch of a cutting edge Alternative Energy Test Farm, which provides for the evaluation and testing of zero energy concepts and technologies.
The relocation and merger evoked mixed reactions from varied quarters.
"I’m not happy anytime we lose a business from downtown," Mayor, Jerry Jennings said.
The mayor said while he’s proud of the success and growth of CNSE, he is not pleased at having lost a private business to tax-exempt property. “I have to know what the playing field is. Am I competing with them to recruit business for the downtown?”
The city still is working towards developing a long-term plan to fill the Harriman campus, he said. In developing that plan, Jennings said it was decided that the city would not seek to attract companies from nearby communities. “It was for new development,” he went on to say.
And Jennings expressed that a similar arrangement should exist for the CNSE complex.
Jennings further added, he felt that the city, state leaders and CNSE all need to 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 was of a different view however and said that 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.
Janack said CNSE’s rental structure is designed specifically to steer clear of competition with areas downtown and private landlords. He disclosed that CNSE charges rent that is 75 percent higher than most downtown commercial properties. (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.”
EYP spokeswoman Kelly Donahue also informed about the company having opportunities to relocate within the region, to leave the state and renew its downtown lease. But the CNSE site presented the best opportunity to augment the firm’s long term growth strategy.
"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 was quoted saying that the NanoTech center's partnership with EYP will bring more renewable energy technology to the state.