Intel has revealed its plans to build a massive semiconductor facility in Ohio to Time — one that company CEO Pat Gelsinger is expecting to become "the largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet." The company is earmarking $20 billion to build the site on a 1,000-acre land in New Albany, located on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. Intel's initial plans include building two semiconductor fabrication plants (or fabs) on the property that would employ 3,000 people. Construction on the site is scheduled to begin this year, and Intel expects the fabs to be operational by 2025.
A Bloomberg report back in late 2021 claimed that the White House "strongly discouraged" Intel from ramping up chip production in China. The administration has been pushing for companies to manufacture chips in the US in order to address the ongoing global shortage. In turn, companies have been lobbying the president to fund semiconductor research and manufacturing. It's worth noting, though, that since building new plants takes years, projects like this won't be able to help address supply chain shortages anytime soon.
Intel said it looked at 38 different sites in the US for the facility but ultimately chose Ohio, because of all the space it could use. The company doesn't want to build in places where it could displace residents, since that's what ultimately killed Amazon's plans to build a second headquarters in NYC. When the fabs are done, Intel will use them to manufacture both its own chips and chips for clients under the Intel Foundry Services. The company announced its foundry services when it revealed that it's building two factories in Arizona, which will also cost Intel $20 billion, back in March 2021.
According to Gelsinger, the chipmaker has the option to expand the Ohio site to 2,000 acres and to build as many as eight fabs in the future. "We helped to establish the Silicon Valley," the CEO told Time. "Now we’re going to do the Silicon Heartland."
Update 01/21/22 3:45PM ET: Intel has officially published a press release confirming that it's building a new "mega-site" in Ohio. The whole project, if the company decides to expand its initial plans and build more fabs, could be worth up to $100 billion over the next decade.