No sign of Lucid Motors factory in Casa Grande 1 year after announcement

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One year after Lucid Motors announced its intention to build a factory in Casa Grande, it still has not broken ground. The site at Peters and Thornton roads sits empty. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) One year after Lucid Motors announced its intention to build a factory in Casa Grande, it still has not broken ground. The site at Peters and Thornton roads sits empty. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

One year after an exciting announcement, there’s still no sign of the state’s first-ever car manufacturing assembly plant along Casa Grande’s industrial corridor.

Governor Doug Ducey enthusiastically made the announcement this time last year that Lucid Motors, a luxury electric car company aiming to compete with Tesla, was going to build a factory in Arizona and create an estimated 2,000 jobs.

[READ MORE: Electric car factory planned in Arizona to have 2,000 workers (Nov. 29, 2016)]

The company’s initial plan was to start production in 2018, but the Lucid Motors hasn’t broken ground yet.

The 500-acre site, which sits on the southwest corner of Peters and Thorton roads near the Walmart Distribution Center, remains empty.

Meanwhile, Central Arizona College’s accredited Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program changed its curriculum in January 2017 to fit the needs of Lucid Motors.

Kristen Benedict, the Advanced Technology Division chairwoman, said the first group of students to complete the program will graduate in December.

She said the Lucid announcement created a “flood of interest.”

“Enrollment increased exponentially and our program really took off from there,” explained Benedict.

However, the 40 students set to get their certificates in production, industrial maintenance or production maintenance won’t be able to work at the Lucid Motors factory in Casa Grande without a building.

Benedict is not disappointed because she said the demand for these skilled students is high.

She said the students have “high-paying careers already waiting for them” with other companies.

As for the Lucid Motors delay, Benedict said the college is “not disappointed.”

“We’re very hopeful for Lucid and we look forward to the opportunity with Lucid,” she added.

In an email statement, David Salguero, a marketing manager with Lucid Motors, said plans to build the plant are moving forward.

“Lucid is committed to our factory in Casa Grande. We have worked diligently to prepare our operation in Casa Grande, including:

  • Completion of Air Quality Permitting
  • Completion of Geotechnical Surveys
  • Completion of Environmental Studies
  • Completion of Detailed Plant Design
  • Training and certification programs with Central Arizona College (CAC) and other community colleges [are in place]. Some students have already graduated with certificates from CAC.

"As we have previously stated, we will only break ground on the factory and begin construction once we have closed our Series D funding round. We believe it is prudent to only break ground once we are confident that we are able to see the project through to completion.

"We are very near the end of the Series D fundraising process. We look forward to making an announcement very soon and commencing with construction of the Lucid factory.”

There's no word when that fundraising process will be complete or when Lucid is expected to break ground.

Richard Wilkie, the director of economic development for the City of Casa Grande said economic development takes time and patience.

“Economic development is not a sprint. It’s a marathon,” he said.

Wilkie explained it’s normal for timelines on big projects to change.

“We have full faith that it’s coming,” said Wilkie. “We continue to have a very strong dialogue with the company and we’re very excited about the opportunity to welcome Lucid Motors to our community.”

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