Building the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing industry

Understanding the role of corporate real estate in building semiconductor fabs of the future

May 01, 2024
  • Kari Beets
  • Amber Schiada
  • Elsa Wilson

Government efforts to ramp up semiconductor manufacturing have reached a fever pitch. However, securing incentives is just step one. Building a thriving domestic semiconductor industry in the U.S. requires skilled talent and suitable locations. Corporate real estate teams can play a vital role in achieving talent and manufacturing goals with savvy real estate and workplace strategies.

This report provides an overview of current incentive programs, and the workforce and real estate challenges companies must navigate while building semiconductor fabrication plants (fabs) in the U.S.

Incentivizing innovation in semiconductor manufacturing

Companies that are thinking about investing in new or existing fabs currently have many options to reduce capital outlays. The CHIPS Act includes two major components related to production and facilities, including an Advanced Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit and a competitive grant process; while the CHIPS for America Workforce and Education Fund offers loans for workforce development activity. State-level funding can also significantly offset the costs of building and staffing new fabs.

Tackling talent shortages in the semiconductor sector

Semiconductor companies need more than funding to build fabs and ramp up production. They also need talent — both construction labor in the short term and a sustainable pool of engineers to work in fabs once they are operational.

Navigating real estate challenges in semiconductor manufacturing

Corporate real estate (CRE) teams play a vital role in fab site selection. However, their work doesn’t stop once a company has acquired a new property and secured CHIPS Act funding or other incentives. CRE leaders can help achieve the business goals of manufacturing expansion plans in a variety of ways.

CHIPS Act funding is expected to spur a flurry of activity in markets where new fabs will be built. Component manufacturers, service providers and other companies in adjacent industries will flock to these markets to create new semiconductor ecosystems. As activity heats up, CRE leaders must navigate changing market conditions to stay competitive.

Partnering to shape the future of fabs

The CHIPS Act and other incentive programs have the potential to not only increase semiconductor production and create jobs, but also to reshape real estate markets. As new semiconductor ecosystems emerge, experienced partners can help guide the way. Skilled project managers can help secure construction labor, keep projects on track and manage the many details of relocations. Real estate experts can help find space in emerging hubs, provide advice on integrating a new fab into a portfolio and deliver intelligence on the latest workplace amenities companies are using to attract and retain skilled talent. Additionally, facility management partners can simplify the work of finding experienced talent to keep sites operating smoothly.

Companies that successfully navigate real estate and workforce challenges will be well-poised to drive value from the plentiful government incentives available today.

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