The Charlotte Observer

April 13, 1995

Motorola expansion to add 700 jobs at Triangle plant

By The Associated Press and The Washington Post contributed to this article

Copyright © 1995, The Charlotte Observer

North Carolina lost to Virginia in its bid for a multibillion-dollar Motorola Inc. semiconductor plant that ultimately is expected to employ 5,000 workers.

But the state did come away with something.

The electronics industry giant announced Wednesday that it will add 700 new jobs to an N.C. semiconductor plant.

In five years, Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector expects to employ 1,000 people at the plant in Research Triangle Park. About 300 people are employed now at the silicon wafer factory, which the company bought last year.

``What it means is we have a sure thing,'' said Gary Carlton, director of business and industry for the N.C. Commerce Department.

Carlton said Motorola is expanding from the West with its planned expansion in North Carolina and the new Virginia plant. The moves will establish the states as high-tech centers, he said.

``Motorola's present operations are in Phoenix and Austin,'' Carlton said. ``For the first time, they're putting their operations in North Carolina and Virginia as their growth corridor.''

No incentives were offered the company, he said.

Motorola was courted heavily by N.C. officials for the proposed $3 billion plant, which is headed for a 230-acre site west of Richmond.

The company said it secured an option to purchase the property in rural Goochland County about 100 miles south of Washington and 15 miles west of downtown Richmond after a national search that covered 300 sites.

Motorola executives said there was no timetable for development and no specific company unit had been designated for the 5,000-employee project.

The decision to put the giant plant in Virginia represents a potential major economic boon for the state, dwarfing even the since-canceled Walt Disney Co. theme park in Prince William County in terms of its impact. Not only would a Motorola plant provide nearly twice as many full-time jobs as the Disney's America project was to generate, but they would be the type of higher-paying manufacturing positions that governments yearn to attract.

Officials predicted that the Motorola plant could create another 10,000 spin-off jobs in research facilities, suppliers and associated manufacturing operations.

``Motorola is the type of company that any state would be thrilled to attract,'' Virginia Gov. George Allen said in a statement. Allen helped lure Motorola to Virginia with an $85.6 million incentive package, according to a source familiar with the deal.

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Copyright © 1995, The Charlotte Observer.

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