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ORLANDO-Striving to build a high-tech corridor along Interstate 4 which slices through Downtown, Orange County commissioners are approving $1.6 million in tax rebates and a $20,000 cash payment to RF Micro Devices, a Greensboro, NC-based manufacturer of microchips used in cellular phones.

Micro Devices gets the money only after it has paid the county more than $1.6 million in local taxes. The company also promises to create a local staff of 20 with average annual salaries of $60,000, twice the county average.

The North Carolina firm will operate from locally based Cirent Semiconductor’s 100,000-sf plant/warehouse complex at John Young Parkway and the Bee Line Expressway in south Orlando. Cirent and Micro Devices are joint venture partners. Cirent makes chips for personal computers.

County officials are betting six-year-old, privately held Cirent will be the magnet to build the area’s high-tech corridor. The county has approved $24.4 million in tax breaks and grants to Cirent since 1995–more than any other high-tech firm has received. The state has promised a total $80 million over the same period.

In turn, Cirent has invested $2 billion in equipment in the last six years. Cirent workers make an average $60,000 per year, according to John Lewis, the county’s economic development director.

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