Sigma Design, Inc., announced Tuesday that Camas will become home to the company’s new world headquarters.
The product design and engineering firm recently acquired the building and property that previously housed Heraeus Shin-Etsu America. The 56,000-square-foot facility is located on 10 acres at 4600 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd.
Heraeus Shin-Etsu America, Inc., closed its Camas operations in 2014 after 22 years. The plant, which manufactured crucibles and related equipment for use in manufacturing silicon crystals and ingots for semiconductors, was a division of Tokyo-based Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.
According to Paul Dennis, president and CEO of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, Sigma Design purchased the property from JR Merit, which had owned it since September 2015 when the company bought it as an investment for $2.05 million.
Sigma Design plans to consolidate from three separate Vancouver buildings (a total of 22,000 square feet), into one campus-like facility, according to a news release.
“Sigma Design experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and a larger facility remodeled for clients’ needs will advance the company’s product design and engineering services,” the release stated. “It provides space for most of Sigma Design’s 170-plus employees to collaborate under one roof.”
Marketing Coordinator Andrea Cameron declined to disclose the amount of money that will be invested into the project.
“Suffice it to say that the remodel will be a significant change to the building,” she said.
Highlights will include new work and design areas, a machine shop, lab, and assembly and testing area, as well as meeting rooms and spaces, and a lecture hall-style seating area.
There will also be amenities for clients and employees.
“These include plans for a workout room and open air break room,” Cameron said. “The outdoor area will allow for a more campus like atmosphere that will only be limited by our imagination.”
Once the project is complete in May 2017, Cameron said the 100 employees who currently work in the downtown Vancouver office will relocate to the Camas site.
“The site will be able to accommodate over 150 without the need for further expansion, which can be accommodated on the property,” she said.
According Bill Huseby, Sigma Design president, relocating will benefit both the firm and its client base. It is a move that has been in the works for more than two years.
“I am excited about the move and generating more jobs in Clark County,” he said. “We’ll create a campus culture that is true to the firm’s core values and supports the needs of our clients.”
Dennis said Sigma Design is taking advantage of a state program originally implemented during the recession that provides a deferral of sales/use taxes on building construction projects.
“When you can save 8.4 percent on your building, it becomes a real incentive,” he said.
According to Dennis, Sigma Design’s plans for the building’s remodel follow a trend that has employers rethinking far beyond the traditional office model that would feature cubicles and a break room.
“The workplace and lifestyles are blending more every day,” he said. “Companies are asking their employees to work long hours, and be committed and dedicated to the company. As part of that, they want to make sure they are taken care of. With any business, but especially a service business, your people are your greatest asset.”
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins described Sigma Design as a “good fit” for Camas.
“That building has been sitting with opportunity for several years now. As the economy has improved we have been wondering what was going to happen,” he said. “This just seems to be a really good fit for our community. We are excited that Pacific Rim can get another company, and hopefully that trend will continue.”
Other businesses currently located along Pacific Rim Boulevard include Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas, Linear Technology Corporation, Karcher North America and C-Tech Industries.
In addition, in July the Camas School District purchased a former Sharp Laboratories of America building and surrounding 31 acres, located at 5750 N.W. Pacific Rim Boulevard. The property, which had been vacant since mid-2013, will be home to the district’s new high school and middle school project-based learning programs.
Sigma Design, founded in 1994, employs a total of 173 people in offices around the United States and in Singapore. It assists clients with product development utilizing the in-house expertise of industrial designers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, firmware engineers and software engineers, as well as machine shop, lab, test and assembly professionals.