gov chip plant

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb at the announcement of the micro processing plant at Westgate.

ODON — A new micro processing chip plant planned for the techpark in northeastern Daviess County will not only have a giant direct impact on the county, but it is expected to generate millions more in local and area investment and jobs.

The Westgate One project is expected to include $300 million in direct investments by four chip companies (NHanced Semiconductors, Everspin Technologies, Trusted Semiconductor Solutions and Reliable MicroSystems) resulting in 350 jobs with annual pay scales up to $100,000.

But a study by Radius Indiana for the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation found that may be just a small part of what is coming to the county and the area.

“It’s really neat. They ran an economic impact study to determine some of the additional benefits. There is the initial investment and the jobs that it will be creating,” said Bryant Niehoff, executive director for the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “But this looked into the other impacts. What is the construction impact, the spin-off jobs and the wages for those jobs and the larger economic benefit.”

But before the plant can begin hiring new workers it has to get built and that construction will be adding money to the area.

“It also does not include the impact of the actual construction of the facility. The total impact of construction is $55 million with 410 new construction jobs and a payroll of $17 million,” said Niehoff.

Even though there will be considerable tax abatements and breaks for the companies involved in the chip plant, once it is built it is expected to still produce millions for the county tax base.

“We took a look at the investment in the aggregate between 2024 and 2028. Even with the 100% tax abatement on personal property and the incentives we are working toward with the building developer, Strongbox Commercial, we are anticipating there will be $3.9 million in county income tax from this job growth,” said Niehoff. “That is based on assumptions that about half of those people will live in Daviess County. That’s where our investments in housing and quality of life and amenities becomes that much more important.”

In addition, Niehoff points out that the study anticipates millions of dollars in investments and hundreds of new jobs to support the project.

“With the direct jobs they are creating, we are estimating additional supplier and consumer related jobs for this investment. The local impact will be 850 jobs created in Daviess County and the region with a payroll of $58 million,” he said. “The total new payroll support will be $501 million. The household spending is expected to be around $318 million.”

During the announcement program in November, there were hints that the Westgate One facility will most likely expand in the near future, but the study did not even consider that possibility.

“This is just based on this initial investment. There is no consideration here for additional investments in the chip operation down the line,” said Niehoff. “The total number of jobs is 1,268 new jobs between the direct investment and the jobs created by the four companies, the supplier demand and consumer demand and the construction jobs created.”

That still isn’t everything. The study did not include the $10 million for road, water and sewer infrastructure improvements covered under the READI grant from the Regional Opportunities Initiative.

“There will be some major additions to the tech park as part of this project and the engineers are now putting that together. Whatever construction that comes from that has not been included in the economic impact,” said Niehoff.

The study indicates simply that the jobs, payroll and tax implications for everyone will be massive and that is why many local officials have appeared to be giddy over the planned plant.

“I think I smiled for an entire day straight. Those numbers are startling. Most people don’t see the numbers we have seen,” said Niehoff. “I think too often people just see the numbers for the tax abatement. They see what we are giving and they don’t realize that it is an investment that is going to result in returns many times over that and is an overall investment in the community. This project will affect all of us in the region. We may not wind-up being employees of NHanced or Everspin, but this is creating jobs in a high-tech industry that might be filled by our children, supporting the war fighter, which is a growing part of our economy in the future. It’s transformational in every shape and form.”

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