CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina-based semiconductor company Wolfspeed is building a new materials plant about 5 miles outside Siler City.

The plant is expected to bring at least 1,800 jobs to the area and be completed by 2030.

Siler City Mayor Thomas "Chip" Price, says new investments like this contribute to the revitalization of downtown.


What You Need To Know

North Carolina-based semiconductor company Wolfspeed is building a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Chatham county

It will produce silicon carbide wafers, which are emerging as a favored part of renewable energy products 

Wolfspeed is expected to create 1,800 jobs by the end of 2030

Siler City Mayor Chip Price says the investment will bring more people and investments downtown​


Price is the new mayor of Siler City. Before he took office, he served on the town board for 10 years. One of the board's biggest goals was to bring business and people back to downtown. It's why staff created things like an art incubator, concert series, paths for new businesses and updated housing.

"We are trying to keep the charm and the hospitality we have and put a new face on it," Price said. "We don’t want to be the old rundown this, that and the other. We want to look good and keep all of our old values.”

Price grew up in Chatham County and says he intended on leaving after high school, but he wanted to give back to the community that did so much for him.

"The town was starting to dry up, our industry was leaving … not only the furniture, but the textiles, everything," Price said. "And it just occurred to me, I had small children (at the time and), the opportunities that I had when I was their age were not here anymore.”

Siler City Mayor Chip Price, left, is excited for manufacturing company, Wolfspeed to bring more money and people downtown. (Spectrum News 1/Victoria Wresilo)

Now with Wolfspeed coming to the area, Price says the revitalization of downtown will continue. The business will not only bring in new jobs but a better salary for some folks.

"People are hungry for an opportunity. They have seen it, when it’s almost dried up ... they don’t want to go back there anymore," Price said.

Price said in the western part of Chatham County the average household income is around $37,000 per year. But, the average salary at Wolfspeed is $77,000. A $40,000-dollar difference that could mean a new way of life for some people and a new era for Siler City.

"If we don’t do something to allow the citizens of western Chatham County to have an opportunity to grow, learn, earn a living wage and do the things they want to do, then we failed, we just absolutely failed," Price said.

Price says most of the feedback on the Wolfspeed plant has been positive. But some folks worried about the influx of traffic. 

"I think some of them are used to being out in the country and doing certain things their way and all that," Price said. "So when they see that this big chunk of land is going to be something else, they are a little bit apprehensive about that. But I think that is part of the growing process."

Price said this is a regional project. And the next step is to work with neighboring communities like Ramseur or Asheboro so they can figure out how they are going to get water and sewer to the Wolfspeed site.