The MEMC building at 6800 U.S. Highway 75 in Sherman sold Tuesday to a Finisar, a global optical communications company.
Sherman Economic Corp. President John Plotnik said the company was awarded the building for $20 million by a court in New York.
“It is very exciting that (such) an international company will be coming to Sherman,” Plotnik said before explaining that he doesn't know, yet, any details of when that might be happening.
In September, Plotnik said SEDCO staff had talked to four the five companies that were bidding on the building to talk about blending federal, state, county and city incentives to give them an idea of what their cost of doing business would be.
Finisar Chief Financial Officer Kurt Adzema returned a call from the Herald Democrat but said the company would have no comment on the purchase of the MEMC building. The company's website said that Finisar fabricates its VCSEL lasers for datacom applications right down the road in Allen. It also has operations in California, Pennsylvania, China, Australia, Germany, Israel, Korea and Singapore. It employs around 13,000 people.
In September 2009, MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., which later changed its name to SunEdison, announced plans to close its Sherman facility in stages in 2010 and early 2011 and then sell the property. The closure of the Sherman plant, as well as portions of another MEMC plant in Missouri, resulted in the termination of 540 employees from the company.
The Sherman MEMC facility manufactured single crystal silicon ingots and wafers for semiconductor and solar photovoltaic applications and epitaxial wafers for advanced semiconductor applications. Built in 1997, the 693,404-square-foot building offers manufacturing, office, and shipping and receiving facilities on 76.8 acres.
“The property originally cost about $200 million to build,” Plotnik said in an earlier story about the building. “After you moved out all the equipment and the specialization equipment to China, the building's value, probably if you were going to rebuild it, would be about $100 million. So if you can buy it at $21 million or something more than that, you bet (it's a good deal).”
The property hasn't changed owners since the Sherman facility was closed, but MEMC changed its name to SunEdison in 2013 after acquiring that company in 2009 and shifting its focus to developing technologies used in the production of solar panels. SunEdison first sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2016 and recently won final approval for a reorganization plan from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein.
“SunEdison was spending approximately $1 million a year to keep the lights on in that building,” Plotnik said in an earlier interview on the possibility of the sale of the MEMC building. “And finally as a result with some other investments that were poorly performing, they had to go into bankruptcy. Then it went into the courts where they started marketing the building and that's why this procedure was put in place.”
In 2012, the Sherman City Council approved an increase in water and sewer rates for city residents to help make up for the loss of MEMC as a city water customer. Sherman city staff estimated the closings of the MEMC and Folgers Coffee plants meant the loss of over 1 million gallons of water usage a day for the city. The city estimated at the time that an average residence used approximately 250 gallons of water a day, so the loss of those industries was the equivalent of 4,000 families moving out of town.
Herald Democrat Managing Editor William C. Wadsack contributed to this report.