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Official: Chatham County megasite out of running for microchip facility
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Official: Chatham County megasite out of running for microchip facility

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MONCURE — A U.S. semiconductor company that was evaluating Moncure’s Triangle Innovation Point for a multibillion-dollar manufacturing facility has withdrawn its interest, two sources familiar with the project told The News & Observer.

The Chatham County megasite — just north of Sanford and half an hour’s drive from downtown Raleigh — faced steep competition. The company that was considering the Moncure location was also looking at sites in Texas and Arizona.

The News & Observer’s sources declined to name the semiconductor company, citing nondisclosure agreements, but said the project could have brought a $40 billion investment to the state.

Several microchip makers have announced plans of that scale in response to a global semiconductor shortage and huge demand. Micron, an Idaho-based chip maker, said in October that it hopes to invest $150 billion in manufacturing, research and development in the U.S. in coming years.

In September, Intel began construction on a $20 billion chip plant in Arizona, and Samsung is building a $17 billion chip plant outside of Austin, Texas.

The Chatham County megasite, the largest one in North Carolina, has been under development for years, but interest has accelerated in recent months.

“We have been getting very close looks from many operations,” said Michael Smith, president of the Chatham Economic Development Corporation. “It’s good to have options instead of hanging your hat on one thing. If we miss something this week, there’s another thing next week.”

Chatham County economic development leaders have not isolated a single industry they hope to attract. State officials had worked to land a car manufacturer at the site, but recently expanded their interest to include life sciences and high-tech manufacturing.

Located off U.S. 1 in Moncure, the megasite is one of the state’s most attractive industrial sites because of its close proximity to the Raleigh-Durham area’s labor force. The site has previously been looked at by an electric vehicle manufacturer in addition to the chip maker.

The nearly 22,000-acre complex is designed to accommodate several smaller companies or a large, single user.

The site could be suitable for many industries. It just takes one.

“The state is interested in good jobs,” said Jason Kaplan, who is overseeing the megasite’s development.

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