ELOY — The announcements of Lucid Motors and Nikola Motor Company plants have put a spotlight on the region, according to Bill Honsaker.
Honsaker, who is a managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., the second largest commercial real estate company in the world, said those announcements have created a buzz and an interest with companies to look to relocate to the area.
“It shines a spotlight on the region,” Honsaker said. “Down here in Pinal County, having Lucid land is a validation. Having Nikola land, it’s a validation. There are a number of very significant projects that I know first hand that are actually looking in this region. Much of that is because a spotlight has been shown on the county.”
Honsaker’s comments came during the Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth’s annual luncheon at Robson Ranch on Tuesday afternoon. It occurred during a question and answer session with Pinal County Manager Greg Stanley.
Stanley asked Honsaker if there is any current activity on the horizon, and Honsaker was a little coy with his response.
“Maybe,” he said. “Yes, I can tell you that even before the announcement (of Lucid Motors coming) there was buzz that Lucid was going to be coming to the area and so forth.
“We were in communication with other groups that were interested in being suppliers and working with them.”
Lucid Motors announced in November 2016 that it planned to build a Casa Grande manufacturing plant that would produce electric vehicles by 2018, but that date was later pushed back to 2020.
Nearly two years later Nikola announced plans to build a 1-million-square-foot facility in Coolidge to manufacture hydrogen electric semi-trucks.
Both plants are expected to bring other related companies into the county. Honsaker said he knows of a sheet metal company that is currently not in the area but is interested in coming. He added that with both companies building electric vehicles, battery suppliers and battery manufacturers could also look to set up shop in the region.
“You have to assume that a contractor or vendor is going to want to be close to the mother ship,” Honsaker said. “That comes in multiple factors with efficiency and making sure things get delivered on time.
“I do see that there is going to be a cluster (of other companies) that will happen in the immediate area and there are going to be some that come from a little farther away.”