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Micron’s $200 million expansion in Boise advances

Micron’s headquarters at 8000 S. Federal Way in southeast Boise. The company is building a new research-and-development lab called Building 51 on the campus.
Micron’s headquarters at 8000 S. Federal Way in southeast Boise. The company is building a new research-and-development lab called Building 51 on the campus. Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

Micron Technology Inc. expects to complete the first phase of a $200 million research-and-development expansion on its Boise campus this summer.

The company has two construction permits pending before the Boise planning department for more than $22 million in work, reports BuildZoom.com, a construction-contractor referral service. The permits are among several the company has received from city planners.

Micron said in August 2015 that it would expand its R&D space 30 percent. Scott DeBoer, vice president for research, said then that Micron needs space because of a wider product base the company supports globally, including products from former Japanese chip maker Elpida Memory Inc., which Micron bought in 2013.

The company said the work would add about 50,000 square feet of clean-room space and would be designed to allow for more expansion later.

Construction began in spring 2016, said Marc Musgrove, Micron’s director of communications.

Musgrove would not say whether the expansion will bring new jobs to the campus. An R&D expansion in 2011-12 added about 200 jobs. Micron employs about 6,000 people in the Boise area.

The estimated building cost makes Micron’s expansion one of the costliest building-construction projects in the Treasure Valley in recent years. The Village at Meridian shopping center, which opened in 2013, was larger at $300 million.

Micron made the decision to expand its Boise research at a time when memory-chip prices were soft, said Mike Howard, a semiconductor analyst in Boise for IHS iSuppli and a former Micron employee.

Now the company is enjoying a robust chip market that shows little sign of dimming for at least the next year, he said. Micron’s latest quarterly revenue of $3.97 billion was up 19 percent from the same quarter last year.

“These long-term bets are the ones you have to place if you are going to remain successful,” Howard said. “The company continues to pull in the right direction.”

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