Wolfspeed picks Chatham County for new semiconductor plant, 1800 jobs

WRAL has learned Wolfspeed will be expanding its chip manufacturing into Chatham County.

It’s a project that could bring 1,800 jobs with an investment of billions of dollars, according to the state budget.

Several sources familiar with the project have confirmed to WRAL that the project is moving forward and an announcement is expected next week.

One source aware of the plans tells WRAL “all systems are go for this project to happen.”

Another source tells WRAL an announcement is planned for next Friday provided all final details come together.

Wolfspeed, formerly Cree, is a manufacturer of silicon carbide semiconductors that is headquartered in Durham.

Contacted by WRAL, Wolfspeed would only confirm that North Carolina was under consideration.

“We are looking at expanding our capacity, and are speaking with multiple states – including North Carolina – about the location of our next manufacturing facility, but we have nothing to announce at the moment,” a spokesperson for Wolfspeed said.

Two weeks ago, Wolfspeed CEO Gregg Lowe told WRAL TechWire that he anticipated demand for semiconductor chips would continue to increase, noting that the company was well-positioned to meet the growing demand due to prior decisions to invest in its Triangle facility and its new facility in New York.

“Oh, absolutely, North Carolina is definitely in the discussion, and we’re very engaged at the state level and at the local level and so forth,” Lowe said. “And we’re pretty close to a decision, a decision certainly before the end of the year. We’re really pleased with the engagement that we’ve had here locally, and across the country as well, but very good engagement in North Carolina.”

If in fact North Carolina lands the plant, it has prevailed in a bidding war with New York, another source familiar with the semiconductor industry said. Wolfspeed originally announced North Carolina as the site for the recently completed plant three years ago then the company changed its location to New York, having landed an incentives package.

According to the state budget signed in July, North Carolina appeared to be luring a semiconductor chip manufacturer to Chatham County.

The description does not name the manufacturer, but would allocate the “sum of one hundred twelve million five hundred thousand dollars” to secure a commitment from a company with “a qualifying project in Chatham County.”

Such a project would be one that would receive a Job Development Investment Grant, JDIG, from the state’s Economic Investment Committee that would tie a minimum job creation target of 1,800 eligible positions and an investment of at least $4.8 billion in private funds.

Vietnam-based car manufacturer VinFast recently selected Chatham County for a new car plant.

Wolfspeed could build new $1B+ semiconductor facility in NC, CEO says

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