Marcy board gives initial approval to Cree plans

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The Marcy town Planning Board has given initial approval to plans for the Cree Inc. semiconductor fabrication facility expected to eventually employ more than 600 people near SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

The board on Monday evening granted conditional approval of the building locations subject to compliance with storm water pollution protection plan requirements, according to town planning board chairman Robert Lambe. The approval means Cree can get a building permit for the buildings.

Cree and its design-build firm Exyte US are still developing final plans for the billion-dollar factory but site preparation has begun. It is also advertising for employees, particularly engineers.

According to basic plans shared at a public presentation Feb. 10, the main building where silicon carbide wafers are to be made will comprise 450,000 square feet over four levels on a footprint of 150,000 square feet.

There will also be an administrative building of 85,000 square feet on four levels, complete with a cafeteria and gym, and a utility building on two levels of 100,000 square feet.

Timing is crucial to meet Cree’s commitment to customers, company officials have said. It hopes to have the clean room ready April 12 of 2021 to begin installing the fabrication equipment, followed by initial production beginning in January 2022. An intermediate goal is having nearly 240 people working by the end of 2023, with 614 employed about five years later.

Principal customers include automakers who want to use Cree’s products in electric vehicles. It also supplies the telecommunications, power generation and other industries.

The factory is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by town, county and state officials to lure a semiconductor company to Oneida County.

Cree is getting a half-billion in state tax credits tied to job creation, and will get a package of local tax incentives in which Cree will pay an estimated $69 million to local jurisdictions on its improvements at the site while saving an estimated $23 million to $36 million in taxes depending on its final plans.

The deal has Cree entering a 49-year lease of the state-owned property which is now tax-exempt. In addition, Oneida County is issuing up to $7 million in bonds to pay for road improvements improving access to the site.

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