Plug Power looking to build in Vista Tech Industrial Park

— From Plug Power submittal to the town of Bethlehem

Plug Power is seeking to construct a 350,000-square-foot office, manufacturing, and warehousing facility in the Vista Technology Park, which is located mostly in Bethlehem.

ALBANY COUNTY — A manufacturer of alternative-energy products is seeking to construct a production facility that will straddle the New Scotland and Bethlehem town line. 

Plug Power is looking to build a 350,000-square-foot office, manufacturing, and warehousing facility in the Vista Technology Park, which is located mostly in Bethlehem. 

The project will require subdivision, site plan, and variance approvals from both the towns.

The company “provides alternative energy technology, which focuses on the design, development, commercialization, and manufacture of hydrogen and fuel cell systems used primarily for the material handling and stationary power markets. Its fuel cell system solution is designed to replace lead-acid batteries in electric material handling vehicles and industrial trucks for some distribution and manufacturing businesses,” according to The Wall Street Journal

Plug Power was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Latham.

Columbia Development, the owner of Vista Technology Park, is also looking to subdivide 129 acres it owns that is located entirely within the town of New Scotland and is adjacent to the Plug Power project site in Bethlehem.

The 129-acre plot of land would be subdivided into 31-acre and 74-acre parcels; the 31-acre property would then become part of the new facility. Then 26 acres would be carved out of the approximately 97 acres of 125 Vista Boulevard, and the new Plug Power facility would sit on the combined 57-acre parcel, engineer Daniel Hershberg told the New Scotland Planning Board on Thursday. 

The facility would include a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing building that would house Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cells, the battery that goes in pallet jacks and fork trucks that are used by the company’s major clients around the country and world, the Bethlehem Planning Board was told earlier this week. 

Hershberg said the GenDrive fuel cells are currently “used in warehouses all over the country, Walmart, Home Depot,”and have replaced “gas-powered engines inside the building, for forklifts and to put things on racks and to move stuff around.”

The units are currently being manufactured at Plug Power’s headquarters in Latham. Approximately 360 current employees would move to the Bethlehem facility. About 670 employees would be working in two shifts, Hershberg told the New Scotland Planning Board.  

The Bethlehem Planning Board is the lead agency for the project and New Scotland’s planning board will participate as an interested agency in the coordinated review process. 

Approximately 17,000 square feet of the manufacturing facility would be located in New Scotland. The facility would be in both towns due to setbacks “off of the public road in Vista Boulevard,” Terresa Bakner, a lawyer speaking on behalf of Columbia Development, told the New Scotland Planning Board. 

A 100,000-square-foot building would be used primarily for servicing the units for Plug Power’s customers, the Bethlehem Planning Board was told on Tuesday. And there would be office space that would take up 50,000 square feet in the form of a two-story building with two 25,000-square-foot floors. 

The hope is to break ground by the middle of February 2022 and to have the 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility up and running by July 31, 2022, the Bethlehem Planning Board was told on Tuesday, with the remaining 150,000 square feet being turned over to Plug Power by Dec. 31, 2022.


More Bethlehem News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.