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Tech firm Micron expanding Manassas plant, adding 123 jobs

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 27, 2010; 5:44 PM

Micron Technology is investing $56 million to expand its Manassas facility and bring 123 jobs to the area, Virginia officials said Tuesday.

"This will have a significant impact on the city of Manassas . . . and the region as a whole," said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who made the announcement at Micron on Tuesday afternoon. "We want Virginia to be a state that makes things, not just consumes things, and that's why we're excited to see this expansion."

Micron has begun turning about 11,000 square feet of its facility into a "clean room" to increase its memory chip production, company officials said. Despite the slow economy, business has risen for Micron, one of the world's leading semiconductor firms, they said. Micron's products are found in smartphones, computers, MP3 players and other in-demand devices.

Although the company is headquartered in Idaho, Micron officials chose to expand in Manassas because of its proximity to an educated workforce, said Raj Narasimhan, Micron's Manassas site manager. The Manassas plant is also creating the most advanced technology, which will allow for a smoother transition to the next wave of products Micron will produce.

"Micron could have picked many, many locations, but this is the site chosen," Narasimhan said. "We have a fantastic workforce here . . . and this site has always been at the forefront of new technology."

Micron officials have spent the past several months working with state and local officials to secure the expansion. Micron received $500,000 from the Governor's Opportunity Fund, a $1 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership and $500,000 in tax incentives from Manassas. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will also provide Micron with funding and services to support the company's recruitment and training, state and local officials said.

Narasimhan said that renovations at Micron should be complete around February and that once the equipment is in, new hires can begin work. Micron's Manassas facility has more than 1,500 employees and adds $285 million to Virginia's economy annually.

"We're very proud of this facility; it's a state-of-the-art facility," Bolling said. "The product made here has become a staple of our lives."

Manassas officials said the business expansion is the largest - and among the only ones - the city has had in recent years. With the expansion, city officials said, Micron will pay about $4.4 million in machinery and tools taxes annually, up from about $4 million now.

"We've watched with great interest the continued growth of Micron," said Mayor Harry J. "Hal" Parrish II (R). "In the midst of challenging economic times, we're proud of Micron. . . . and we look forward to continuing a long and fruitful partnership with our corporate neighbor."

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