NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) – Construction crews officially have boots on the ground at the site for Intel’s expansion into Ohio, a company spokeswoman confirmed to NBC4.
Multiple construction vehicles moved in and churned dirt Friday at the plant’s New Albany property, NBC4 video showed. Intel’s Linda Qian said the tech firm is excited to begin work at its planned semiconductor fabrication plant in New Albany, referring to it as site preparation and excavation.
“A diverse Ohio-based team led by Gilbane Building Company has begun early work to prepare the site for the construction of our planned factories,” Qian said.
The news comes after Intel previously announced it would delay the groundbreaking ceremony for the New Albany plant, intended for property near the intersection of Mink Street and Green Chapel Road. Intel Ohio General Manager Jim Evers cited stalled action in U.S. Congress on the CHIPS Act, a bill that would further incentivize Intel’s move into Ohio, as part of the holdup.
“We’re moving in a lot of different places,” Evers told NBC4. “In order to be able to go fast, and we can do some great things and make that site the biggest manufacturing site for Intel, it can be bigger than this Arizona site, which is quite a dream for me, we need some help to do that. The CHIPS Act can help with that.”
As Intel started work on the Ohio plant anyways before Independence Day weekend, the forecast turned darker for the CHIPS Act. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held the bill hostage on Thursday, threatening to block it if Democrats in Congress moved forward with another separate spending package.
“Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill,” McConnell wrote on Twitter.
The senator was referencing reports of a plan by Democrats for a spending package funded through budget reconciliation, which they would force to passage with their majority vote.
In an interview with CNBC, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave his own opinion on the situation. He said Intel’s announcement to delay the groundbreaking could be a strategic move.
“I don’t think they wanted to be in a position where they would say to Congress, we’re breaking ground, and Congress still hadn’t passed the CHIPS Act,” DeWine told CNBC. “I think it’s a little bit of maybe leverage or a little bit of, ‘hey, let’s pay attention to this.’”
Gilbane, while based out of Rhode Island, has a branch in Columbus. NBC4 reached out to the company’s spokesperson for more information on their Friday work plans, but had not heard back as of 2 p.m. The company was one of four that Intel announced in May would begin work on its plant. The other three included Columbus-based McDaniel’s Construction, Cleveland’s Northstar Contracting and Columbus’ GTSA Construction Consulting.
The Intel plant also has another expensive neighbor coming. Pharmavite, LLC, said June 27 it would invest more than $200 million into a new manufacturing facility for its Nature Made and Megafood brands of vitamins and supplements. The property that company picked is just a two-minute drive from Intel’s proposed semiconductor fabrication plant location.
NBC4 has a crew on the way to get the first visuals of the work being done at Intel’s New Albany site.