Broome’s Big Factory Dream Died 30 Years Ago
A copier manufacturing plant that some had expected would employ thousands of people in the town of Union closed 30 years ago this week.
Savin Corporation broke the news to workers at the Lewis Road facility in Choconut Center on a Friday morning in December 1985.
The move to suddenly shut down the operation came less than six years after local and state officials celebrated Savin's decision to build a massive factory in New York instead of Pennsylvania.
In making the announcement to locate the plant in Broome County, Savin president Robert Low said New York's incentives were "somewhat" better than what Pennsylvania had offered.
Then-governor Hugh Carey was among the elected officials who took credit for helping land the copier plant in April 1980. But Savin's efforts to manufacture a high-speed copier at the site flopped.
When the factory plans were unveiled, there were expectations it would employ "at least 2,000 people by 1983." But the workforce on the day of the closing was only 350.
Broome County economic development officials had helped line up more than $20 million in loans and grants to convince Savin to choose the local site.
In the end, the company said estimated its losses at developing the manufacturing site at $89 million.
The sprawling building has since been repurposed as the Airport Corporate Center. It's now home to several tenants, including the Press & Sun-Bulletin and Lourdes Hospital. But much of the former factory remains vacant.