A commercial truck manufacturer that announced in January it would open in Buckeye has opted to move to Coolidge, southeast of metro Phoenix, instead.
Coolidge city leaders on Monday unanimously approved an economic development agreement with Nikola Motor Company that includes several tax breaks.
The zero-emissions commercial truck company currently located in Salt Lake City is expected to bring about 1,800 jobs to Coolidge and another 300 to Phoenix, where it will relocate its headquarters and open a research and development center.
Company official: About timing
Nikola pivoted to Coolidge to meet a new production deadline to deliver more than 800 trucks, according to Rick Miller, Coolidge city manager.
“Coolidge had a shovel-ready 430-acre piece of property with the infrastructure already in place that will shave years off our construction time,” Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company, said in a statement. “We have customers like Anheuser-Busch and US Express who are ready for their trucks and with this move, we’ll be able to deliver much faster.”
The manufacturing facility will be located by the Union Pacific Railroad near Interstate 10 and State Route 87 interchange, Miller said.
Construction of Nikola’s plant is expected to begin in 2020 and operations are scheduled to begin in 2021, according to the agreement which expires in 10 years.
The company is anticipated to spend more than $800 million in construction and equipment of the Coolidge facility, according to the agreement.
Within its first year, the company will hire over 200 employees and total 1,762 employees by 2025, according to the agreement. The average wages are $80,000.
Arizona companies hiring 100 or more in September 2018
Under the economic development agreement, Coolidge will reimburse Nikola:
Without these, Nikola wouldn’t have chosen Coolidge, according to a city document.
Coolidge commissioned an economic impact study that found Nikola will generate $278 million in construction wages, and by 2025 the project will have created $1 billion in overall economic output, which measures economic activity, such as receipts of good and services, related to the company’s operation.
Buckeye officials, at the time of the January announcement, said the city would rebate 49 percent of the sales taxes related to the construction and operation of the facility.
Deal not possible without Buckeye
Miller, the city manager, said Buckeye was “instrumental” in attracting Nikola to the state.
Milton from Nikola said the move to Coolidge is strictly about the need to set up its manufacturing hub quicker.
“This decision has nothing to do with the City of Buckeye or incentives,” Milton said. “Buckeye literally went to the ends of the earth to help us out, but in the end, we just couldn’t get a building up fast enough with the land options we were presented,” Milton said.
While the West Valley city will lose on a large and coveted job hub, Buckeye said it remains positive about the company’s plans in Arizona.
“Nikola is an excellent company to work with and we wish them much success in Coolidge,” said Dave Roderique, Buckeye’s economic development director. “Thankfully, the company is remaining in Arizona, and will still have positive impacts on the regional economy.”
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