Pinal land considered for planned Tesla factory – Rail, freeways give Pinal County an advantage in Tesla plant competition










Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

George Washington Carver



Sean Holstege, The Republic | 6:25 p.m. MST April 1, 2014

Pinal County is in the running for Tesla’s planned battery factory, county officials and business leaders say. They cite the confluence of Union Pacific’s transcontinental railroad and Interstates 10 and 8 as major advantages.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla Motors Inc. announced in February that Arizona was among four states in contention for a $4 billion factory that could employ 6,500, although few details of the pending decision have been revealed.

The factory could supply as many as 500,000 batteries a year, shipping them to California to be assembled into Tesla’s electric vehicles.

“We are flattered that Tesla is considering Casa Grande and Pinal County. We are not surprised, because of our location,” said Jim Dinkle, executive director of Access Arizona, a business group that seeks to attract companies to the area.

The Arizona Commerce Authority coordinates the state’s efforts to land such prospects.

Originally, the Commerce Authority solicited the county for available potential sites that would meet Tesla’s needs, Pinal officials said. The state agency had in mind Superstition Vistas, a 275-square-mile state-owned tract north of Florence near U.S. 60 that has been slated for a master-planned development.

Instead, county economic-development director Tim Kanavel recommended three sites farther south: one near the I-8/I-10 interchange, another next to a giant proposed Union Pacific switching yard near Red Rock, and a third on part of 11,400 acres near Eloy.

That site in December became the focus of the largest land deal in Pinal County. Jackob Andersen, president of Pinal Land Holdings, spent $118 million assembling the site, with plans for an inland port in mind.

“I do know about Tesla,” Andersen said. “We have the perfect site for expandability and access to electricity, which is their Number One issue.”

County Supervisor Steve Miller said Andersen’s site is a “home run,” adding, “If Tesla wanted to make it there, he could make that happen.”

The county has been told that Tesla needed a site with at least 1,000 acres and easy access to mainline freight track and interstates. Andersen also said he has all the utilities Tesla needs: water, electricity and gas.

“That’s not a reality in a lot of places,” Andersen said. “I don’t think the land deal or city tax breaks are going to make any difference to Tesla. They want to know: What’s the cost of running the plant?”

Tesla also reported in February that the company wanted to power the facility with renewable energy such as solar and wind. Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said Monday the company could not comment further on what factors will play into the final site decision.

But Andersen and Miller recognize Pinal faces stiff competition from Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Within Arizona, some West Valley interests have been eyeing Tesla, too, reportedly suggesting sites west of the White Tanks in Buckeye.

Kanavel, Miller and Andersen all said Arizona must pull together to attract Tesla rather than pit one region against another.

“Arizona has got to stop arguing within Arizona. We need to get a company like Tesla to come here, rather than squabbling amongst ourselves,” Andersen said.

“Though we certainly want the client to locate to Pinal County, we are supportive of any place in Arizona,” Kanavel said in an e-mail to the board of supervisors.




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I am a successful Commercial Investment Real Estate Broker in Arizona now for 20 years and I worked with banks and their commercial REO properties for 3 years. I am also a commercial landspecialist in Phoenix and a Landspecialist in Arizona.





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