AKHAN may be joined by technology incubators when it starts operating in Gurnee business park

 
 
Updated 1/28/2015 11:02 AM
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  • Adam Khan

    Adam Khan

  • Gurnee resident Mark Stoyas he supported tax incentives used to lure AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. and hopes the village becomes known as a "tech hot spot."

      Gurnee resident Mark Stoyas he supported tax incentives used to lure AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. and hopes the village becomes known as a "tech hot spot." Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Adam Khan says his high-tech company specializing in energy-efficient diamond film semiconductors may not be alone when it moves into a Gurnee office park.

Khan told the Gurnee village board Monday that four or five technology incubators may join his AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. in the 120,000-square-foot space near the Tri-State Tollway formerly occupied by Kenall Manufacturing.

"Truthfully, at present, Gurnee is not a tech town," Khan said. "But it can be. There is absolutely no reason why Gurnee should not be a tech town."

Village board trustees Monday night voted 6-0 in favor of what will be a combined $5.8 million in performance-based state and local tax breaks for AKHAN. Under Gurnee's end of the deal, AKHAN will receive a maximum of $1.5 million in sales tax rebates over five years.

"So, AKHAN only receives reimbursement if they generate sales tax," Gurnee Village Administrator Patrick Muetz told elected officials, who didn't have any questions for Khan before they approved the deal.

The incentives to bring AKHAN to Gurnee include a maximum of $500,000 in sales tax reimbursement from Lake County over five years. Documents show the entire package of local incentives -- including property tax abatements from the Warren and Woodland school districts, Gurnee Park District and Warren Township government -- will be worth roughly $2.3 million and come on top of $3.5 million available to AKHAN through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Michael Stevens, president and chief executive officer of Lake County Partners, complimented Gurnee officials for seeking collaboration from other governments to bring AKHAN into the village and said it could be a model for similar, future endeavors.

Stevens, who heads Lake County government's economic development arm, said having AKHAN in Gurnee also should be a boost to the area's technology business recruitment and retention.

"It's always great to have this type of announcement," he said Tuesday.

AKHAN had planned to use the tax inducements to bring 54 employees from Hoffman Estates and California to the Gurnee business park for a company headquarters and factory, but Khan said the number has grown to 80 workers. AKHAN projects explosive growth for its cutting-edge diamond film semiconductors.

Khan said he intends to close on the purchase of the 120,000-square-foot building in February, with operations starting later this year. He did not elaborate about the technology incubators that may occupy part of the structure.

AKHAN has had a partnership with Argonne National Laboratory to develop technology using energy efficient diamond film as semiconductors.

In November, Argonne announced it granted an exclusive licensing agreement for the technology to AKHAN, which is expected to become the first U.S. company to fully develop the process for industries such as aviation, defense and power.

AKHAN Semiconductor, a subsidiary of AKHAN Technologies Inc., was founded by Khan in 2007.

He said use of diamond semiconductors, rather than silicon, means devices can be made thinner and operate at higher temperatures, benefiting smartphones and "wearable" technology such as Google Glass.

Before the deal gained final approval, resident Mark Stoyas said during public comment time he hopes the village becomes a "tech hot spot" known for more than Gurnee Mills and Six Flags Great America.

Khan, a Gurnee native who graduated from Warren Township High School, acknowledged potential AKHAN investors have been curious about his desire to be in the village. He said the village has a good location in the Tri-State Tollway corridor.

"We have had the battle of selling to the open world why Gurnee is going to be the diamond capital, the tech capital of tomorrow," he said.

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