Bloomington Manufacturer May Add Up to 300 Jobs

Polar Semiconductor is eyeing a 98,000-square-foot expansion, which would add to its existing 200,000-square-foot facility.

Polar Semiconductor, Inc.'s (PSI's) manufacturing facility in Bloomington may see a significant expansion, according to documents recently filed with the City of Bloomington's planning division.

PSI currently has a 200,000-square-foot facility at 2800 East Old Shakopee Road, which includes 62,000 square feet of cleanroom space in which the company performs wafer fabrication, according to its Web site. Wafer fabrication is one step in the creation of semiconductors, which are used in the production of integrated circuits that are used in electrical and electronic devices.

PSI representatives said Wednesday that they are not yet disclosing information about the expansion.

Sources close to the deal said that the initial phase of construction will likely result in the addition of about 80 new employees, and when completed, “the addition will have generated need for about 300 additional employees.”

The City of Bloomington's planning and economic development division recently composed a report based on an application from PSI in which the company seeks to revise its previous development plan to accommodate the expansion.

The report indicates that the company hopes to expand on its existing property by adding 98,000 square feet to its operations. The expansion-which is described in the report as an “independent manufacturing facility”-would occupy space north of the existing facility.

Julie Farnham, a city planner involved in the development, confirmed Wednesday that the planning commission held a hearing last week regarding the proposed expansion. She said that the committee voted unanimously in favor of the expansion, and the City Council will vote Monday to make the final decision. “I have no reason to believe they won't approve, but of course, can't know for certain,” she wrote in an e-mail to Twin Cities Business.

According to the planning documents, PSI has been operating at its current Bloomington location since 1970. The company-which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based semiconductor manufacturer Sanken Electric Company, Ltd.-has “continued to add headcount to its operations,” according to the report.

“The manufacturing industry demand has increased, and to remain competitive, PSI will need to update and expand its current wafer manufacturing lines and [is] thus in the process of evaluating and designing expansion for its current Bloomington location,” the report states.

The documents also indicate that the expansion will likely result in “additional high-tech manufacturing jobs within the community.”

Farnham said that she expects PSI to submit permit applications shortly after the City Council gives final approval. She said that PSI plans to begin construction in early 2011, and once the “shell” of the addition is complete, PSI will likely finish the interior through additional construction phases.