Intel Corp., producer of chips that power 85 percent of the world's personal computers, has purchased options on at least two parcels of land in the Salt Lake area, a company official said Friday.
Mike Edwards, a member of Intel's new site development team, said one option is for about 140 acres of private land along the alignment for the Bangerter Highway in Riverton. He said he did not know how much Intel paid for the option, and he would not release the location of other parcels.But Edwards said the company will work on qualifying the Riverton site first.
"It's a rather large parcel right along the freeway alignment, which gives it good transportation access to the airport, which is key for us," Edwards said.
He said the site is flat, has infrastructure in place and is relatively close to the company's existing research and development buildings in American Fork and its Dayna Communications facility near the airport.
"This particular type of location lends itself to a multipurpose campus," Edwards said. "It's largely an office development that would have engineering and technical staff there doing a variety of product development and engineering work. In our vernacular, it would not be a manufacturing site."
And Edwards stressed the purchase of an option does not mean the company definitely will build a campus in Riverton. The qualification process is complex, Edwards said, and it could be mid-summer before any proposal could go before Intel's board of directors.
"We've been looking at the greater Salt Lake City area for several years," he said. "Once we get to the point in the process where we start narrowing down on a particular parcel, it's called our qualification process. We do a lot of soil samples, screening of the site . . . That's the part of the process we're beginning now."
Tammy Kikuchi, Economic Development Corp. of Utah vice president of marketing and communications, said she was notified Thursday of Intel's purchase of the Riverton option.
"This does not mean that Intel has any kind of active project going on in Utah," Kikuchi said. "If the proposal is approved by the board of directors, it will be considered an active project, but they are still considering other locations in other states."
Ken Leetham, Riverton city administrator, said city officials met with Intel representatives Thurs-day.
"They're very interested in Riverton, and they're doing their due diligence on us," Leetham said. "I'm sure they'll be working with us closely in the next few weeks and months."
Both Leetham and Riverton Mayor Sandra Lloyd referred all additional questions about Intel to Edwards.
"All I can tell you is it's an option on some land," Lloyd said Friday.
Bill Calder, an Intel spokesman, said the company always is looking for new locations around the world.
"When we do our site-selection process, we typically come in with a team of people who look at a variety of factors, including the availability of land," Calder said Thursday. "It in no way should be construed that we are actually going to build or expand in a certain location . . . In some cases we even secure an option, but that in no way says for certain that Intel will be expanding in the state of Utah."
Intel representatives told Utah House Speaker Mel Brown in January that the firm was considering building a research and development campus somewhere in the state. Brown said Intel indicated it was looking for about 100 acres on which to develop a campus that could eventually employ 8,000 people.
In a move that could help draw Intel to the state, this year's Legislature passed several bills that will give companies 6 percent income tax credits on research and development equipment, as well as other costs and personnel.
Calder said such incentives are important to Intel.
"Obviously, the tax structure is very important," he said. "Our ability to do business there is important."
Scouts from Intel, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., poked around Utah County last fall after the Utah Valley Economic Development Association submitted a proposal to the computer chip giant, something it does at least every other year. UVEDA invited the county's 24 cities to go in on the bid, but only two took the offer.
The most promising site lies in southwest Pleasant Grove near I-15.
But Intel informed local economic development leaders just before Christmas that Utah Valley isn't in the running.
"We were told unequivocally it's not in this county," said Richard Bradford, UVEDA executive director. "The phones have been dead. We haven't had any calls from the company since then."
Deseret News staff writer Dennis Romboy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.