Statewide: Triangle region, February 2014
STATEWIDE Triangle Region
N.C. State wins a national title
N.C. State University will be the headquarters of the first of three public-private manufacturing-innovation institutes. The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute is a $140 million consortium of 18 companies, five universities and two research labs. Its goal is to develop technology for energy-efficient electronic chips that will be used to make motors, consumer electronics and other devices faster, smaller and more efficient. These new wide bandgap semiconducters are expected to replace the silicon-based kind. President Barack Obama announced the selection, which followed a national competition, during a visit to Raleigh in January. Based at Centennial Campus, the institute will coordinate the research of consortium members and serve as a regional hub and teaching lab. The U.S. Department of Energy will invest $70 million in it, and Gov. Pat McCrory has committed at least $10 million in state funds over five years. The rest will come from the members of the consortium, which includes Durham-based Cree and Greensboro-based RF Micro Devices. The sites of two additional institutes, which will focus on digital and metals manufacturing, have not been announced. Obama wants to develop a network of as many as 45 such institutes, pending congressional approval.
RALEIGH — Red Hat expanded its partnership with Round Rock, Texas-based Dell to co-engineer the next generation of its software for cloud-based computing. Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4, which is being developed for corporate customers building secure private or hybrid cloud networks for internal uses, will be available later this year, and Dell will be the first to incorporate it into its products.
RALEIGH — First Citizens Bank & Trust paid $10 million to acquire Hendersonville-based Mountain 1st Bank & Trust, though all but $2 million was used to pay back what Mountain 1st owed the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program. The acquisition gives First Citizens a dozen more branches in western North Carolina.
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Justice sued online lender Western Sky Financial to stop it from lending money to North Carolinians and make refunds on loans with illegal annual interest rates as high as 342.9%. The Eagle Butte, S.D.-based lender, which has marketed itself online and through television ads since 2010, claims it is exempt from state banking laws because it is owned by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
RALEIGH — Highwoods Properties sold $88.8 million of noncore assets, including eight office buildings that the real-estate investment trust owned in Greenville, S.C., an 82,000-square-foot building in Pinellas County, Fla., and its share of Lofts at Weston, a Cary apartment complex that was a 50-50 venture with Northwood Ravin, a Charlotte-based apartment developer.
MORRISVILLE — Ziptronix, a Raleigh-based designer, developer and marketer of semiconductor-integration technologies, sold its 3-D laboratory here to Naperville, Ill.-based Tezzaron Semiconductor Corp. for an undisclosed amount. Tezzaron subsidiary Novati Technologies will use the lab to develop memory products for customers in the aerospace, defense, health-care, life sciences and telecommunications industries.
RALEIGH — Richard Gannotta left Duke Raleigh Hospital, where he had been president since early 2013, to become president of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Duke Raleigh has 186 beds; Northwestern Memorial, 854. Gannotta joined Duke Raleigh as chief operating officer in 2006.