x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Abu Dhabi helps US town to boom

The Life: Saratoga Springs in New York State is thriving unlike much of the rest of the United States.

The Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, New York. Mike Groll / AP Photo
The Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, New York. Mike Groll / AP Photo

It was once a historical American spa town, famous for its healing springs and annual horse race, but today the city of Saratoga Springs in the upper part of New York State has become a technological hub for the semiconductor and nanotechnology industry with its 570-hectare Luther Forest Technology Campus.

The 30,000 inhabitants of the quaint pastel-coloured houses have been enjoying an 8 per cent boom in their local economy, at odds with the rest of the United States, which is still finding it hard to grow its economy.

One of the main reasons is the sheer amount of investment the city has managed to capture, including some US$5 billion from Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic), which set up the Globalfoundaries silicon chip fabrication plant in Saratoga Springs.

The plant has so far created 2,000 direct jobs and more than 7,000 indirect jobs. With plans to expand it and possibly open another, Saratoga Springs is only going to get busier and livelier.

Key facts:

Airlines: It is a three-hour drive from New York City and Boston with daily flights to New York City from Dubai on Emirates Airline and Abu Dhabi on Etihad taking 14 hours. While Saratoga Springs is only 30 minutes drive away from Albany International Airport, no local airlines currently fly there, though private aircraft are welcome.

Hotels: The Hampton Inn & Suites offers free Wi-Fi, a desk with an ergonomic chair as well as a lapdesk and comes with a microwave, refrigerator, an alarm clock radio and an iron and ironing board. It is located within walking distance of the main high street and just a five-minute walk from the Farmer's Market, which is open in the summer. There are plans for more hotels including a Marriott, but for now most of the hotels are modest and nowhere near the five-star levels of luxury found in the UAE.

Eating out: For such a small city, there is an abundance of restaurants and cafes with the main highstreet, Broadway, offering anything from upmarket Italian restaurants to shisha bars. A popular venue is Maestro's, an American bistro with an alfresco dining area on a columned stone terrace.