Sharp companies move in together

Microelectronics, Laboratories' step leaves 1 site empty

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 
photoClick to enlarge

Sharp Laboratories of the Americas

WHAT: Applied research and development facility exploring advanced technologies in four core units.

WHERE: 5750 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd., Camas.

ESTABLISHED: 1995.

EMPLOYEES: In 2003, the company employed more than 180 people in Camas.

OWNERSHIP: Subsidiary of Sharp Corp., Osaka, Japan.

PRESIDENT AND CEO: Larry Meixner.

WHAT'S NEW: The R&D company has moved out of its two-story office building in Camas and will share space with its sister company, Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas, in a three-story building next door.

Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas and Sharp Laboratories of America have condensed staff into one of two buildings at the company's Camas campus, leaving one structure vacant and ready to lease.

The news comes as parent company, Japan-based Sharp Corp., restructures to cope with net losses of more than $5 billion in the fiscal year ending in March. The company is known for its liquid crystal display technology, advanced television and wireless phone systems, software design for imaging systems and semiconductor materials research.

The vacated, two-story building once housed offices and research space for Sharp Laboratories. Its staff has moved in with sister company Sharp Microelectronics in a newly renovated three-story building next door, said David Franks, vice president of human resources at Sharp Microelectronics.

Franks, who works for Sharp Microelectronics, said he could not speak on behalf of Sharp Labs about any change in its staffing levels. That company's president and chief executive officer, Larry Meixner, did not return calls.

Franks said the two-story building up for lease is equipped to accommodate any kind of office users.

"It has been upgraded for state-of-the-art computer systems," Franks said, "with lots of parking available and access to lawns and walking paths."

The 118-acre campus was established in 1985 for a joint venture between RCA and Sharp Microelectronics to build a 250,000- square-foot semiconductor factory, or "fab." The deal was scrapped when General Electric Co. bought RCA.

Sharp eventually took over the site and built its own operation at 5700 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd., starting with a three-story, 116,000-square-foot office building for Sharp Microelectronics. The company, which markets and sells electronics, reports to a New Jersey-based segment of Sharp Corp., Franks said.

Sharp Labs reports directly to the Osaka Development Group in Japan, he said, pointing out a major difference between the two companies.

Franks said Sharp Microelectronics' business is booming, although he would not disclose financial details. The company has just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its three-story office building, which now houses 270 employees between the two companies.

"All the office space has been modified with new air handling units, replaced LED lighting and a major renovation on the cafeteria," he said, adding that the company saw efficiencies in bringing all of its employees under one roof.

"Now, we have the ability to lease a very nice office building and generate some revenue from that," Franks said.

The former Sharp Labs building will be offered for lease by commercial real estate brokerage firm, NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson. It has approximately 55,000 square feet of leasable space on two floors and can easily accommodate more than one company, said Roger Qualman, chief operating officer of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson.

Users could include any business from data processing to information technology and billing services.

"There are several logical suspects," Qualman said. "It's a good time."