Durham: The Durham-based energy-efficient-light maker Cree Inc. plans to grow its Research Triangle Park footprint. The company, which makes light-emitting diode, or LED, indoor and outdoor light bulbs, fixtures and components, plans to build a new facility for testing outdoor lighting.
Plans filed with Durham-City County Planning show that the company is looking to build a one-story, 146,756-square-foot building with an auditorium and cafeteria, office space, a fitness area and warehouse space. The plans were approved in March, and construction is expected to cost $184,607.
Frances Rodenbough, a spokeswoman for Cree, said that the space will be used to field test exterior lighting fixtures. Carr Lanphier, an associate equity analyst with investment research provider Morningstar informed that the company got material exposure in 2011 to the outdoor lighting market from the acquisition of Ruud Lighting in Racine, Wis. Outdoor lighting has not been their forte since the beginning but the company is doing well in this logical addition to their business. He also added that since they are primarily focused on pushing new adoption, they are focused on kind of being the leading provider of LED technology. Hence a testing facility is going to be required to guarantee the integrity of the materials they are making.
As per the company’s 2013 annual report, Cree has manufacturing operations in North Carolina, Wisconsin and China, and has research and development facilities in North Carolina, California, Wisconsin, India and China. The company said in the filings that it expanded its facilities in North Carolina and Wisconsin last year, and warned that type of investment takes time to become fully operational.
The company owns about 828,000 square feet of space in Durham, with most of that used for production, and owns another 163,121 square feet in the Research Triangle Park as well. Besides, the company mostly produces its lighting products in a facility it owns in Racine and in a leased facility in Durham. The company leases 108,382 square feet of space in Durham. The company also bought a building at 4401 Silicon Drive in Durham, last year, for $1.84 million.