Motor company could generate jobs

Motor maker LC Drives has purchased two lots amounting to about 58 acres across Route 56 from Sissonville Road in Potsdam but still is seeking funding for the project. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — Following the purchase of the 6968 Route 56 property earlier this summer, innovative motor maker LC Drives is still on the hunt for funding for a project that would involve building a 120,000-square-foot factory that officials said would lead to between 200 and 300 new jobs.

The purchase of the property came after a 5-0 vote at a June 27 Town Planning Board meeting that approved having the manufacturing company, which makes permanent magnet electric motors, move forward with building on the site.

The site was purchased from Richard Moose, Town Code Compliance Technician Michael Boysuk previously told the Times.

LC Drives Director of Strategic Operations Devon C. Sutton said the land acquisition happened about a month ago.

“But the project is still not funded, that is one thing that is really important to make clear, especially publicly,” Mrs. Sutton said. “But we really believe that Potsdam is the right place to do business.”

Mrs. Sutton said the company is looking at a broad spectrum of both private and public sources for funding.

“These types of things usually take a pretty wide team to make happen and so, in the town’s case, they have been 100 percent behind us, especially as we have been going through shovel-ready and they have been very clear that they want this business in the town,” she said. “Then, of course, it is going to take state and federal and private individuals and economic organizations all coming together and becoming team that supports this project from a financial perspective.”

Currently the company intends to begin construction next summer, Mrs. Sutton said.

“We feel that 200 to 300 jobs here in Potsdam is great for us and great for the area as well, which really drives with our philosophy behind doing business, which is really doing well while growing the area where we do business,” she said. “We are hiring rapidly and it has been a really exciting period of growth here. We’ve been able to bring in some great talent from the area.”

The company hired 20 new people after receiving $15 million in Series A financing from Koch Engineered Solutions in May, putting them at a staff of 35. Mrs. Sutton said the company hopes to be at 50 employees by the end of the year.

LC Drives has already made the Route 56 site shovel-ready as the result of grant funding received from The Shovel Ready Infrastructure Program. Shovel Ready, a National Grid program, provides grants of up to $125,000 for engineering and planning, and $500,000 for the installation of electric and natural gas infrastructure to a designated Build Now NY and Shovel-Ready Certified Sites served by National Grid, and for engineering studies that will advance a site in the development process.

The grant is a 50-50 match, Mrs. Sutton said.

“A site being shovel-ready is a state designation and what that just means is the site has undergone sort of preliminary paperwork to make sure that it is not an archeological sensitive site or that there are no endangered species on the site or that it is being built in a flood plain or any of those types of things,” she said.

That included work with state Department of Transportation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state Historical Preservation office, and other entities, to ensure that the property, when the project is funded, will be ready to go right into the design of the building and the site, she said.

“This is that preliminary work to get the official red tape and things like that taken care of, and what that does is it allows the project to move very quickly once it is funded and that’s what we intend to do,” she said. “The biggest piece is that we are looking for really talented people to join our team, so people are welcome to send us their resumes or get in touch with us at our website,”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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