Potsdam company, recipient of $700K worth of state grants, ponders leaving NY

WWNY Potsdam company, recipient of $700K worth of state grants, ponders leaving NY

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Potsdam’s LC Drives has landed hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and local development incentives. Now the successful startup says it could leave the state altogether.

LC Drives designs and produces revolutionary electric motors. The business offers solid pay and benefits to its 125 workers.

“And they’re able to be part of that innovation and that industry disruption when they work with us,” said Devon Sutton, LC Drives director strategic operations.

LC Drives has grown rapidly in three years at Clarkson University. It wants to move out on its own. The question is where.

“There’s a lot of interest in LC Drives from other states – in creating headquarters for LC Drives in other states,” said Sutton.

The state of New York has helped fuel LC Drives’ growth with $700,000 in grants. The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency pitched in $500,000 in loans. They also get a state tax abatement.

“If they suddenly announce that they’re moving to Wisconsin or something, I think many people in our community might rightly feel that they had been treated somewhat disrespectfully,” said Gregory Gardner, SUNY Potsdam professor of business.

Gardner notes such a move could be costly. Valued employees might be lost.

LC Drives, for its part, says Potsdam is still the preferred option. It has submitted site plans to the county for a manufacturing complex off Route 56.

“We really feel that the north country is the right place to do business and we hope that New York state agrees.,” said Sutton.

In 2019, LC Drives was seeking $50 million in state aid to build the plant on Route 56. The pandemic stalled talks. The company says it’s willing to go back to the table.

Recently, there was a big development along Route 56. Voters approved a $10.3 million extension of water and sewer lines.

That could help LC Drives if it decides to remain here in Potsdam.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.