Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the October 10, 2001
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Sarnoff’s Land Sale & Spin-Off
At a time when most people do not even want to think
about building a new office building, let alone a whole new office
park, the Sarnoff Corporation has found a way to possibly kickstart
the proposed expansion of its 350-acre corporate campus on Route 1
in West Windsor Township.
The plan: Sell the 90 prime acres at the front of the property to
its across-the-highway neighbor, Princeton University. Sarnoff would
give up its plan to construct a conference center hotel on that
portion of its land, and use the money to capitalize its other plans
for the remainder of its corporate campus. Princeton would take title
to the 90 acres with no immediate plans for its development but
knowing that it now has options on both sides of Route 1 if — or
when — its campus reaches that point. As of now the campus has not
yet crossed Carnegie Lake.
The deal is described in the conditional tense because it is
contingent on Sarnoff working out a deal with West Windsor Township.
recently proposed changes that would reduce the Sarnoff’s development
potential from .30 to .21 percent of land area (the floor area ratio
or FAR). Sarnoff’s has reduced the density in its plan from .24 to .21
"As we listened to the concerns of the citizens of the community
and held ongoing discussions with township officials, says Sarnoff
CEO Jim Carnes, "it was clear that less development phased farther
out in time was important."
The price of the land has not yet been announced, but the package
would include Sarnoff’s entire front lawn plus the front part of the
property along the Millstone River. In the event that Sarnoff decided
to sell more land, the proposed deal would also give the University
first rights to purchase additional acres.
Meanwhile, the latest company to get hatched under the
wing of Sarnoff Corporation is Lamina Ceramics, developers of high
performance ceramic packages for use in optical and wireless
Like most hatchlings at Fisher Place and Washington Road, it draws
nutrients from discoveries that Sarnoff made a good while ago, and
it is bridging the gap from military to civilian applications. Also
like many other young Sarnoff companies, it must move soon to less
expensive quarters outside of Princeton.
Formed in April, Lamina Ceramics has landed $12 million in venture
capital financing from Morgenthaler Venture Partners through Greg
E. Blonder, a former Bell Labs inventor who is also the VC contact
for Princeton Lightwave, a Sarnoff spinoff that moved to Route 130.
Bob Pavet is also a Morgenthaler partner who is on the Lamina board.
"We are looking for space and believe we have identified several
possible locations in the Burlington area," says Taylor Adair,
president and CEO.
A friend referred Adair to the search firm that was trying to fill
the CEO position. Adair, 43, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, where
his father was in sales. He has an undergraduate degree from Villanova
and an MBA from Wharton’s executive program, then worked for Flam
& Russell Inc., a microwave engineering company in Horsham,
and Leeds and Northrup, in North Wales, Pennsylvania. In eight years
at EMC Technology Inc., a Cherry Hill-based manufacturer of radio
frequency (RF) and microwave radio components made from ceramic
he led the company through two sales, most recently to Smith
He and his wife have two children and live in Moorestown.
Among the other five employees here are three from Sarnoff (two
and an engineer), a vice president of engineering, a process
engineer, and a controller.
Lamina designs and manufactures products for high frequency electronic
applications. It makes packages for indium phosphide and gallium
chips; it will also make ceramic boards.
"The name of the technology we are commercializing is low
co-fired ceramic on metal," says Adair. Competitors have low
co-fired ceramic (LTCC), but not on metal (LTCC-M). "The advantage
to metal," says Adair, "is that it constrains the shrinkage
of the ceramic when it is fired, provides a thermal heat sink, and
increases the flexural strength of the ceramic." Such strength
helps to eliminate breakage when manufacturing large packages or
LTCC-M also allows chips to be in an airtight environment —
because some of the materials are more frail than silicon and could
degrade if exposed to oxygen.
Potential clients are military organizations and major aerospace
makers of microwave transmit and receive modules; makers of fiberoptic
components; and any manufacturer that needs a highspeed backplane
(a circuit board that links other circuit boards).
Sarnoff has had this type of electronic chip packaging technology
under development for nearly the past decade. "It is very well
developed in a lab environment, and we need to scale it up to
production," says Adair. "Nobody that we are aware of has
commercialized this technology."
— Barbara Fox
Corporation, Princeton 08540. Taylor Adair, president and CEO.
609-720-4949; fax, 609-720-4927. Home page:
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