CASA GRANDE — An electric car manufacturer that hopes to build a plant in Casa Grande has been given an extension on an option to purchase the land needed for the factory, authorities say.
Lucid Motors, the Menlo Park, California–based electric car manufacturer, has received an extension on the time to purchase 500 acres located at the southwest corner of Thornton and Peters roads.
Kirk McCarville, Pinal County advisor with Land Advisors, a commercial brokerage firm, said the extension was offered to the buyer — Lucid — by the sellers. He said that the purchase agreement is in full force and the buyers have kept up their part.
He declined to say how much time was given on the extension, citing the existing contract, which he said is still valid.
In January, Pinal County officials said they would purchase the 500 acres and sell it back to Lucid. The county said at the time that it did not intend to raise taxes in order to pay for the land, in accordance with state law. The principal cost for the land was $31.8 million.
McCarville said the option of having the county buy the land is “Plan B,” saying the county may or may not be required to use its bonding authority that was approved depending on how Lucid gets financed.
Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller said the county has not finalized the purchase of the 500 acres but has put money down toward the purchase.
“We are not in the position to give Lucid any extensions for purchasing the land they need,” said Pinal County spokesman Joe Pyritz.
Casa Grande City Manager Larry Rains said, “The city has not been directly involved in the land acquisition component of the proposed Lucid project. We have indirectly assisted in keeping the parties in constant contact.”
The extra time will allow the company to secure funding, Rains said.
“The proposed project continues to progress as the company evaluates all of their financing options,” Rains said.
David Salguero, a Lucid spokesman, told PinalCentral: “We do not comment on rumors. Our funding activities are going well and we continue to work on preparations for our factory in Casa Grande.”
Funding has been a perennial problem for the company since it announced the Casa Grande plant last November amid much fanfare. Original reports indicated the company would begin production of the vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2018, although Salguero later told PinalCentral production would be pushed back to 2019.
The prototype of the Lucid Air was marketed to be a luxury vehicle with a price tag topping $100,000. Since then, however, Lucid has said a base model will be offered for about $53,000. Salguero previously declined to tell PinalCentral how many Lucid Airs had been presold or reserved.
Lucid has said it plans to hire 2,000 employees by 2022.