Intel has confirmed that it has cancelled the building of a new development center in Israel. IDC21 was supposed to be built in the Matam Technology Park in Haifa, in the south of Israel. However, the ambitious plans for a modern workspace, offering great facilities for a blend of work and leisure, have fallen victim to a cost cutting exercise. The area is now to be used as a parking lot for use by workers in the technology park.
Israel’s Globes newspaper recounts the timeline of Intel’s IDC21 plans, from the announcement leading up to the present day. Shortly after Pat Gelsinger became CEO in early 2021 he visited Israel – surfing on a wave of optimism and propelled by a booming tech industry thirsty for new semiconductors. In May the same year Intel set out its plans for a new development center, covering thousands of square meters in Haifa – with some of its existing important Israel-based facilities like IDC9 nearby.
Intel’s $200M vision for the new IDC21 center was based around the proposition of a campus featuring; sophisticated laboratories, a visitor center, an auditorium, restaurants and cafes with workspaces, green spaces and sports areas, and even a roof-top health complex with a purported “amazing sea view”. As well as being a new site for serious work, the company thought it could be a health, wellbeing, and leisure facility for other Intel workers in the technology park, as well as locals.
Three months after Gelsinger’s visit, the plans for IDC21 were firmed up, with a visit of then SVP, Gregory Bryant, and the symbolic laying of a foundation stone. Less than 18 months after this formal development step, Intel confirmed the site will instead be converted to a car park to benefit other technology park workers and visitors.
Regular Tom’s Hardware readers will be well aware of the current pressures on the technology business. Semiconductor makers like Intel are being particularly hard hit by another contraction in the business cycle, and the wider recession. Confining our observation to Intel’s business, there have already been some signs foretelling this Israel decision. Over recent months Intel has delayed Magdeburg mega fab plans, cancelled construction projects in Oregon and India, and cut various smaller real-estate developments.
Intel provided a statement to Globes which indicated that the ditching of IDC21 plans were part of a wider cost cutting exercise by the company. “Intel is acting to maximize the usage of its real estate with the aim of creating a dynamic and comfortable work environment for its employees, while cutting costs,” read the statement. “We therefore decided to halt construction of IDC12 and complete construction of the parking lot.”
If there is some encouraging news to be extracted from this, it is that Intel appears to be restricting its investment and expenditure cutting exercise to bricks and mortar. It is keeping existing employees, and that will be important to Israel where it is, according to Globes, the country’s largest employee with 12,000 employees plus 2,000 at Mobileye. We really hope that the industry will see green shoots soon, so that jobs and the pace of semiconductor R&D don’t get impacted by cuts.
Apple continues with its development center plans at the same Matam Technology Park industrial zone. Globes reports that the new Apple facility, with 46,000 square meters of space, will be formally opened for business “very shortly.”