When Angel and Lisa Rivera bought a house on an acre of land in Clay two years ago, they intended to raise their three young sons there. “It was supposed to be my forever home,” Angel Rivera said. “I bought my kids four-wheelers and all that other stuff. It was definitely supposed to be like playland.” A year later, though, Micron Technology announced it would build the nation’s largest semiconductor manufacturing plant – right across the railroad tracks from Rivera’s house.
“From my second floor all I’m going to see is a big old building right in front of my face,” Rivera remembered thinking. “I’m not for that.” Rivera and his wife, Lisa, had grown up in York, Pennsylvania, and vowed they’d raise their kids in the country. They learned about Central New York while Angel Rivera served at Fort Drum, near Watertown. He spent eight years in the U.S. Army, retiring in January 2022. Once the Micron news hit, postcards from real estate agents started showing up in the mailbox. Angel Rivera called Canaan Realty, in Manlius, and soon had an offer.
It was from Micron. For $400,000. That was more than double what Rivera had paid less than two years before. The price was right, Rivera said, and Micron is letting the family live rent-free in the three-bedroom house until November. “It was a sweet deal,” Rivera said.
Rivera is the first Central New Yorker to sell land directly to Micron, which plans to build the massive chip fabrication plant, or fab, on Caughdenoy Road. Onondaga County has bought up about 1,400 acres, including dozens of homes, for the fab. That land will eventually be sold to Micron. The Rivera property lies directly across the street from National Grid’s Clay substation. Two transmission towers stand at the back of the property. A Micron spokeswoman confirmed the land will “support the utility infrastructure” of the fab.
Rivera said he and his family are committed to staying in Central New York and will look for a house with land. If they don’t find exactly what they’re looking for, he said, they’ll have their forever house built. Allen Olmsted, the broker at Canaan Realty who handled Rivera’s sale, said Rivera paid a premium price when he bought the land in 2021 for $177,400. That turned out to be a good deal. “Young guy, hard worker, ended up paying a premium price for something that was a good investment,” Olmsted said. “To me, it’s a beautiful story.”