back to article Intel sued over historic DEC chip site's future

Intel is being taken to court in Massachusetts over its proposals to build a distribution and logistics warehouse on the site of its defunct R&D offices and chip factory that closed in 2013. At the heart of this showdown are claims by townsfolk that Intel has not revealed to the surrounding community what exactly it intends to …

  1. Ace2 Silver badge

    “It creates a traffic nightmare and livability nightmare but it's too late."

    It’s not too late. The C-suite / Wall Street sociopaths get their massive paydays right on time, right according to plan.

  2. Kev99 Silver badge

    This action on the part of intel doesn't surprise one bit. I sat on local Tax Incentive Review Councils for around 15 years. The purpose of the coumcils was to review and approve / disapprove tax breaks given to companies. Usually, the smaller companies' requests were justified. However, quite frequently a Fortune 100 company would show up with hat in hand asking for a tax break. A classic example is when a certain automobile company came asking for a 10 year, 75% tax break for a new transmission plant. The kicker was their own public filings indicated there were only three locations in the world that could handle the production. One was in France (Blanquefort), the other in Brazil (Sao Paolo), the third in Ohio (Cincinnati). The tax break amounted to around 30 days of the company's US revenues.

    Long story but the point is big companies will whatever they can to snow local governments in order to fatten their back pockets and make wall street happy.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "However, quite frequently a Fortune 100 company would show up with hat in hand asking for a tax break."

      The bigger issue is the rampant misuse of public funds that's been going on that caters to that sort of thing. Those big companies know within a fairly tight tolerance where they need to locate a new facility. I have a feeling that they announce that it could be anywhere so the places where the facility wouldn't work are acting as shills to get the 2-3 places to not only drop their shorts, but run them up the flag pole, "Look ma, no shorts". I understand that towns are often looking to attract good jobs to their community, but paying companies that shouldn't need the money is the wrong way to go about it. Just being able to show the advantages of the town and doing something like assigning city planners and inspectors to work with the company to expedite things can be more than enough. China built Tesla's plant in Shanghai so quickly by having inspectors working on the site full time so there were no time lags to getting things done. Anything that wasn't going to pass could be rectified right futsy now while the dozer operators are still sitting in the cabs. Not waiting a week to get somebody to come out and have them nit pick some stupid detail to show how much power they have. I've lost weeks of my life on most jobs on red tape.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. deevee

    Looks like a commercial facility, in the immediate vicilnity of a large retail area and highway, can't see the issue repurposing it, other than NIMBYs...

    I have to wonder how the locals reacted to the adjacent Seventh Day Adventist facility next door...

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Most US cities zone warehouses in industrial areas well away from any housing, let alone elderly and child care. You can't repurpose something into a warehouse without changing its zoning classification.

      Intel surely knew that, but thought they could pull a fast one.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Looking at the aerial views, it's surrounded by housing. So, which came first? The housing or the industrial facility? Why did they build a factory in the middle of a residential area? Or, why did they build loads of housing in an industrial area?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          From the article, the point is that an actual warehouse (or several) would be fine, but the planning application is so vague that 'warehouse' could become a major logistics hub with large numbers of truck movements 24x7x52.

          1. lglethal Silver badge

            The city should approve the planning permission with the provision that all vehicle movements to and from the faciltiy are forbidden between 8pm-8am, and with a maximum number (relatively low) of trucks allowed on the roads during the operating hours.

            Make sure the provisions would work fine for a couple of "local warehouses" but absolutely unusable by a large logistics centre. And then see if Intel start squirming...

            The whole point that you can throw down an application that is so vague in itself is mind-boggling. It would be like going up to your local council telling them you want to build a new residential building but refusing to tell them if it's going to be a single family house, a series of terrace houses, a 40 floor residential tower block, or a medieval Castle complete with Moat and Drawbridge. All of those could be classified as residential buildings for sure, but they have very bloody big difference in effect on the local area...

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "You can't repurpose something into a warehouse without changing its zoning classification."

        An M1 zoning could be anything that fits "light industrial", but cities often include the need for planning permission/use permits to make sure that incompatible businesses aren't located next to each other. A school near a major trucking depot would be an issue. I can also see that an R&D or light manufacturing use would bring more good paying jobs into the area. Warehouse jobs pay rather poorly and there could be fewer of them depending on what the facility is doing.

  4. Chris Coles

    Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

    Now what if someone came forward to create a new Research Institute? Something of the highest architectural standards? Opening up a completely new area of technology? Food for thought?

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

      As the article says, that site was a R&D facility and chip factory, which means traffic (assuming a 9 to 5 workday) would be pretty much limited to cars and the occasional SUV during the rush hours, the occasional delivery truck maybe but not a permanent parade of trucks.

      Such a 9 to 5 business does not impact the quality of living nor the child care institutions as much as the traffic to and from a logistics center so i would assume that a revival of the R&D facility would not meet as much opposition. Even if the chip factory part had delivery traffic and workers commute due to a 24hour day, that volume of traffic would be limited in comparision to a logistics center.

      But another point is the extremely vague project/intent definition. While "agile" may somewhat work on things that can be redesigned and reprogrammed on a (comparative) whim, laying bricks, plumbing,powerlines etc. is something literally set in stone/concrete so the vague definition seems to hint on a malicious intent to get something approved that would not be approved if Intel came up front with what they really want to do.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

        "the vague definition seems to hint on a malicious intent"

        Paranoid schizophrenia, or undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia? You're having a psychotic break, mate. Get medical help.

        1. Shalghar Bronze badge

          Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

          "Paranoid schizophrenia, or undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia? You're having a psychotic break, mate. Get medical help."

          I am not sure why you enjoy insulting unknown individuals but its just experience with companies.

          Everything thats clearly defined can mostly be relied upon.

          Whenever something stays undefined or vaguely defined, the probability that something fishy will happen later is sadly quite high. Much more for purely verbal agreements or verbal or otherwise not binding or enforceable "clarifications and explanations".

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

            It wasn't an insult, it was advice. Seek help. You're having a psychotic episode.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

              "It wasn't an insult, it was advice. Seek help. You're having a psychotic episode."

              If you are going to give medical advice, can you please show us your qualifications to do so?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

                Malpracticing Dave, M.D.

            2. Shalghar Bronze badge

              Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

              "It wasn't an insult, it was advice. Seek help. You're having a psychotic episode."

              While i cannot rule that possibility out, much less after 2 years of corona terrorism and the current trigger happy self destructing idiocracy called "german government" with all its extremely bad sideeffects for my personal life, your diagnosis (i admit i had to look at wikipedia and other freely accessible informations) does not fit too well as i do not experience the (aural) hallucinations and my DDLI (WimpDDLI is still a funny thing to have and i did another run just to see if you might be right.) did not change from a decade ago. Self diagnosis via mental training we received during NATOs yugoslavia attack also doesnt show too many deviances and i assume thats something useable since it was designed to alert a soldier equipped with an assault rifle that he might get unstable.

              One teensy problem is, if i had the mental breakdown you suggest, the current waiting time for any therapist or psychologist is around 8 to 12 months until the first meeting and any emergency services are no longer available/totally overrun since year two of the corona hysterics.

              As a few of my friends had mental breakdowns or similar grave issues due to the corona hysterics and the resulting personal catastrophes, this is sadly an information i dont even need to search for.

              How about a classic ? "Just because you are paranoid doesnt mean that theres noone out to get you." ;)

              But really, distrust in $bigcorps morale compass is something i wouldnt see as a sign of paranoia. Theres sadly too much evidence to show that trust would be a better sign of mental issues.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why Not Try a Classic "What If"?

          Look in your mirror, davepi.

  5. Fred Goldstein

    The site is over 2 miles from the highway (I-495). DEC got the Commonwealth to build an access road (85C) leading from the highway to near the site. Since then the condos have gone up on either side of the property. So a warehouse/logistics operation would be sending a lot of traffic down the road and near the new housing.

    DEC spent a lot of money on "Silicon Mountain". Chip fabs don't come cheap. They built the core of the plant on an isolated slab attached to bedrock far below, so no vibration from the roads or the rest of the building would be felt by the litho gear. Not cheap. But the fab itself, the equipment, only lasts a few years, and the room then needs renovation to get the dust count down to the ultra-pure level needed. Intel obviously decided not to bother. You'd think that with the chip business being pretty good, some fab company might pick up the site. But Amazon and probably XPO (PostDestructor DeJoy's company) are always hungry for places to run trucks to.

    My town had a big site come on market recently, right on a major highway exit. Knowing that it was going to be available (a former car dealership), they quickly rezoned to allow industry, offices, labs, etc., but explicitly prohibiting warehousing. A nicer project is planned. Hudson may have left itself open, though. Logistics warehouses are not good neighbors.

  6. HammerOn1024


    So, you build next to a derelict INDUSTRIAL SITE and one day the owners of the site decide to reactivate it... Huh.

    So you think you have a right to sue them do you Bucky? Did you offer to buy that land? How about having the zoning changed?



    Go away kid, you bother me.

    - W.C. Fields

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Huh...

      Lets go real life to show that "industrial site" is not the same as "industrial site.

      Vorwerk carpet factory near the center of Hamelin doesnt generate much traffic or air pollution. The same size of industrial site, "Heller Leder" around 40 kilometers away generates such a stink that it can be smelled up to two kilometers away, depending on wind direction which is luckily mostly going away from the village. The stink intensifies dramatically whenever they refill their biogas processor, a big cylindrical tank with a rubber seal on top.

      When the winds die down in summertime, the whole village stinks of the tannery, the rotting biomass and whateverchem up to 500 meter higher on the hill, the range of the air pollution is up to 1500 meters without air movement, which doesnt help as that also means much more intense scent.

      At least both facilities have a comparable traffic generation but apart from this and a comparable size, thats all thats similar on both industrial sites.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huh...

      Exactly my feeling.

      If you want it used for something else, buy the property from us and do it.

      Until then, take a hike.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Huh...

      >So you think you have a right to sue them do you Bucky?

      UK case history suggests they do and have a good chance of winning.

      You only need to look at list of cases where townies have moved to the country and won court cases about cockerels crowing at dawn, farm aromas, church bells...

  7. JRStern

    Return it to agriculture

    Heck, many many moons ago I lived in beautiful adjacent Westboro and I remember the old DEC plant, the entire region was still half agricultural. A few years later the state changed tax laws or something and all the old, OLD farms went out of business, turned into residential and industrial space. I haven't seen it in years, but my suggestion is as above.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm in the "it's an old building, we own it, and we're tearing it down and rebuilding" camp. If you want something else done with an old building for whatever reason, buy it from us.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      I think no one is actually saying Intel can not tear down the building and rebuild, just that they need to be clearer about just what it is they want to build and the intended use of the site, as this has ramifications on the neighbours.

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