Section: News

Intel to construct 1,000-acre chip factory in New Albany

Intel to construct 1,000-acre chip factory in New Albany

COURTESY OF INTEL

On Jan. 21, Intel, a company that makes key components of computers, announced that they were going to build a factory in New Albany, an affluent suburb of Columbus, about 30 miles from Gambier. According to Intel’s press release, the company is investing $20 million dollars to build a “mega-site” factory, which will be operational by 2025.

The 1,000-acre site will contain at least two semiconductor fabrication plants which, once completed, will employ an estimated 3,000 people. Intel has said that the construction of the site, which will begin later this year, will create an additional 7,000 construction jobs. As part of their agreement to come to Ohio, Intel will be able to expand to eight semiconductor fabrication plants covering 2,000 acres of land.

Intel is the latest major technology company to expand its operations in the Midwest. Google, Facebook and Amazon have already expanded their operations within the region. “We helped to establish the Silicon Valley,” said Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger. “Now we’re going to do the Silicon Heartland.” 

While Intel’s decision to build a new fabrication plant may lead to increased economic activity in the region, it will not alleviate the current chip shortage in the United States, which is caused by increased demand and the national supply chain crisis.

Recently, the U.S. Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to invest money in the technology sector. On Monday, the House passed a similar bill: the America COMPETES Act, which authorizes the Treasury Department to allocate funds to build semiconductor factories. The bills must be combined through a joint committee in Congress and then passed in each chamber before it heads to the president’s desk. If President Joe Biden is able to sign the policy into law, Intel may receive federal subsidies to build the fabrication plants. The U.S., specifically the Midwest, has seen factories move overseas in recent decades. Since 1991, there has been a 34% decline in manufacturing jobs in Ohio.

Intel considered around 40 sites, but ultimately chose the location in Licking County. One factor that drew Intel to Ohio was that the Ohio General Assembly had passed a bill extending tax credits to companies that invest more than $1 billion from 15 years of benefits to 30 years of tax credits. Additionally, Ohio’s ample use of land and looser environmental regulations contributed to Intel’s decision. 

Intel confirmed that another state had offered better incentives, but that it did not want to repeat what happened with Amazon when it tried to move to Queens, N.Y. in 2019. Amazon faced local backlash, with residents upset with its tax incentives and claiming that the area would face rising housing costs and gentrification. 

New Albany will be an attractive place for employees with its good school districts and well-priced homes. In 2015, Insider named New Albany the number-one suburb in America. “It’s a place where a new college grad can come with a husband, or wife, or significant other, a kid, and they can build a life,” Intel Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, Supply Chains and Operations Keyvan Esfarjani said.

Another factor for Intel’s decision to build in New Albany was the talent at local colleges and universities. The company is partnering with universities and community colleges to create the Intel Ohio Semiconductor Center for Innovation, a research center to help develop new technology in coordination with the National Science Foundation. The center will cost $100 million dollars, spread over 10 years. 

President Sean Decatur believes the introduction of Intel to the area will provide future internship and job options for Kenyon students. “Part of the announcement from Intel was a commitment to work with higher education institutions in the states and not just public higher education institutions in the face of private institutions,” he said. “This is not only going to bring jobs to the area, but also bring the opportunity for a wider spectrum of internships and potential placements for Kenyon graduates as we move forward there.” 

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