Semiconductor Company Will Trigger Growth in the North

By Brent Ruffner | Daily Independent

Experts say the announcement of a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing company coming to the Valley will trigger new growth in north Phoenix, spurring the region to become a new epicenter for high-wage jobs.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. announced plans last year it would build a new facility in north Phoenix, and small and medium industry-related businesses should benefit, experts said.

Its announced plans to invest $3.5 billion in a second U.S. manufacturing site in north Phoenix — its first was in Washington with design centers in San Jose, California, and Austin, Texas — come as concern grows over heavy American reliance on sources in Asia for high-tech components, the Associated Press reported.

The jobs, expected to be about 1,700 from the TSMC plant alone, won’t be limited to just that site. A New York-based real estate group successfully bid $65 million in March to secure land expected to support a new semiconductor industry support facilities plant near Deer Valley Airport.

Mack Real Estate Group outbid another company by about $10 million to secure the land deal that is could be used for supplier locations.

There were two total bidders in the auction. The other company, whose name is unknown, bid the minimum bid of $55.1 million, according to the Arizona State Land Office. The property totaling 223.79 acres is near Seventh Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road.

Raghu Santanam, chair and professor of information systems at W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said the tech scene is a “really exciting economy” for Phoenix.

Companies that offer quality control, lab services and product engineering and designing will partner with TSMC, he said.

“There is more investment,” Mr. Santanam said. “As a result, you have a bigger economic impact.”

Mr. Santanam said small and midsize businesses are upbeat about the company’s move to the Copper State.

He said he expects business-to-business relationships to expand, and that the talent pool in the Southwest is ideal for the industry’s expansion in the area.

“(Businesses) are excited they are coming,” Mr. Santanam said. “…The other thing will Phoenix — there is really (a lot of) top-notch universities within a 100-mile radius. The location is really beneficial given how expensive California is today.”

The professor said the semiconductor industry has always had a good presence in the Valley.

Companies such as Microchip Technology Inc, ON Semiconductor Corp. and Intel have called the Phoenix desert home for decades. In all, the industry employs more than 30,000 people in the Valley.

Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, said the industry has had a place in the desert since Motorola first came to Phoenix in 1949.

The latest announcement is a win for the technology and manufacturing industry, Mr. Zylstra said.

“It’s huge,” Mr. Zylstra said. “It really will make us the largest location in the United States for semiconductors.”

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