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California-based company to invest $71.1 million, create 500 jobs in R&D center in Washtenaw County

High-tech semiconductor equipment manufacturer KLA-Tencor Corp. is planning to invest up to $71.1 million and create 500 jobs in Washtenaw County.

The new research-and-development center would be the first Michigan location for the Milpitas, Calif.-based company, which supplies process control and yield management systems for the semiconductor industry and employs 6,000 people worldwide, according to a news release from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The company intends to lease temporary space in Ann Arbor before choosing a site where it would construct a permanent facility in Ann Arbor Township or Pittsfield Township. The plant would support long-term growth projections for the company.

A message was left with a company spokeswoman Tuesday morning for more information about the project.

KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC) reported just shy of $1.1 billion of revenue for fiscal year 2018. Its stocks were trading at $87.23 per share as of Tuesday morning.

The state is supporting the project with about $16.2 million over eight years through a Good Jobs For Michigan Withholding Tax Capture for the 500 new jobs, which is awarded to job-producing projects, as well as a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for 150 qualified new jobs. A local property tax abatement will also be offered to support the project.

The company was considering opening the plant in Dallas or Toronto.

“Among the decisive reasons for building a major R&D hub in Michigan are Ann Arbor and the Detroit metropolitan area’s attractive talent pool, relative low-cost of living (compared to the San Francisco region where KLA-Tencor is headquartered), proximity to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and other logistical advantages that support KLA-Tencor’s leading international semiconductor and electronics customers,” Chief Strategic Officer Bobby Bell said in a news release. “These advantages enable innovation across a broad spectrum of semiconductor consumption and electronics, including data storage, cloud computing, machine learning and automotive.

“Ann Arbor also stood out by giving us the opportunity to strengthen our partnership with the University of Michigan and its proximity to the automotive industry. Locating in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area allows the company to draw from one of the greatest concentrations of engineering talent in the U.S.”

The newly-created jobs will be filled mostly by recent graduates with master’s and Ph.D. degrees in technical disciplines, highly skilled engineers and managerial level talent and would pay between $48 and $72 per hour, according to the company.

Automotive companies purchase $21.8 million of semiconductors from Michigan-based companies, the release stated. It’s expected that demand for semiconductors will increase rapidly with the development of mobility and autonomous vehicles.

Additional projects – MSF also approved the following:

-An authorizing resolution for issuance of private activity bonds for Oakland Corridor Partners LLC to make improvements to a 5.5-mile segment of the I-75 corridor.

-An award of $9.6 million from the Investment Fund to be contributed as an equity investment into Grow Michigan II. The purpose of this investment is to leverage private sector investment with a fund size of $59.6 million.

-An additional $3 million in funding for the Invest Michigan Pre-Seed II Fund to allow investments in new technology startup companies to continue for another year.

-An extension of one year and additional funding totaling $2.485 million for two University Technology Acceleration and Commercialization programs: the Technology Transfer Talent Network and Michigan Corporate Relations Network.

-Changes to the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program guidelines to add an Advanced Manufacturing hub and combine the Bio Medical and Life Sciences hubs.

 

Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on October 23, 2018.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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