Local silicon-epitaxy manufacturer GlobiTech is planning a 44,340 square foot expansion at its Sherman facility that could also lead to the addition of 57 new employees.

GlobiTech recently got the first approval for the expansion, which would effectively double its current building size, from the Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission. In addition to approval of the site plan for the proposed expansion at 200 West FM 1417, the commission also approved an exception to allow a retaining wall, security fence and plant screening with a 38 foot setback from Howe Drive.

“Essentially, GlobiTech’s expanding their facility,” engineer Justin Walton, from Teague, Nall and Perkins, said, adding GlobiTech is nearly out of room in its current fabrication facility. “They’re building a new Fab 3 Expansion. If you look at the site plan, there’s a small section there due to the orientation of the building and how its laid out that requires us to shift the fire lane over to get around that side of the building. There’s about 130 foot length in there. I understand the fire lane is allowed in that setback, it’s just a function of providing approprite screening along Howe (Drive) and then we’ve got security fencing for the facility itself and the retaining wall.”

Information provided to the commission states the expansion to the current GlobiTech facility will be a Fab 3, which is similar in size to the facility’s existing fabs. The company currently employes 206 employees and is proposing the addition of 57 more following the facility’s expansion. The proposed expansion will be designed to connect to the existing facility.

Sherman Director of Development Services Scott Shadden said the planned retaining wall along Howe Drive will accomodate the building’s fire lane.

“There’s quite a bit of grade difference between Howe Drive and the new facility, so we’re going to have to do a three or four foot tall retaining wall along that section,” Walton said.

Commission Chairman Clay Mahone said relative to the rest of the land, it is a “pretty small portion” that sticks out toward Howe Drive.

“We’ve done our best to push that as close as we could up to the building,” Walton said.

It was the second straight month Walton represented GlobiTech in front of the commission, as the local manufacturer secured approval for a GlobiTech Power Generation Facility that would serve the company’s existing building in May, as well as a variance for a chain-link fence around the facility and a 13-foot setback instead of the normally required 55 feet, seven inches.

That request was approved unanimously by the Sherman City Council last week, though Deputy Mayor Pam Howeth asked whether approving the item would set a precedent for other businesses. Shadden told the council it would set a precedent, but called the situation “pretty unique” because of the drainage and tree lines involved in the request.

“So they have room to meet it (the required setback), it’s just there would be a lot involved — taking down trees and those kinds of things,” council member Willie Steele asked.

Shadden confirmed there would be a lot of trees taken down to meet the 55 foot, seven inch setback, though it “would not necessarily make it look any better.”

Walton explained last month GlobiTech has had “upwards of 15 utility outages throughout the year” and the power generation plant would allow for “consistent power at the site” and reduce “those outages to two to three a year.”

In May, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. board of directors approved a land purchase contract for GlobiTech to purchase 2.2 acres for $10,000 for the facility. Information provided to the commission states the generation equipment will be capable of operating in conjunction with the company’s electric utility provider, or in “island mode” where it is disconnected from the utility. The power generation facility will be natural gas fueled engine generators and are expected to be in use less than 200 hours each year.

When SEDCO approved the deal to sell the land for the power generation facility to GlobiTech, Executive Vice President Frank Gadek said because of the size and location of the land sold to GlobiTech, there was unlikely to be anything SEDCO could do with it.

“You’ve got to have a minimum of five acres at (the) Blalock (Industrial Park) to do a traditional Type A project on it,” Gadek said of something that would qualify for a SEDCO incentive. “It works out for us and it works out for them as well.”

After approving the sale of the land to GlobiTech, the SEDCO board also approved a separate performance agreement with the company that will see GlobiTech investing $650,000 in switching equipment and receiving an incentive of $32,500. Gadek said the incentive agreement is only scheduled to last through the end of the year, so GlobiTech could receive the $32,500 incentive payment in the next six months.

“It’s real fast and a relatively small deal (for SEDCO), but $650,000 is not a small deal (for GlobiTech),” Gadek said last month. “The two acres that GlobiTech’s buying from us, that’s going to go on the (city) tax roll, so that’s positive as well.”

SEDCO’s board also approved a $487,500 incentive for the local manufacturer last September after GlobiTech said it would be adding 12 new jobs over the following two years as part of a nearly $10 million capital investment in its Sherman plant.

The council will consider the approval given by the commission for the facility expansion during its regular meeting next month.