Arizona Emerging as Preferred Manufacturing Hub
Arizona Emerging as Preferred Manufacturing Hub

Arizona Emerging as Preferred Manufacturing Hub

  • 11-Jan-2023 4:47 PM
  • Journalist: Bob Duffler

Arizona (United States): Arizona's manufacturing sector is booming, with a series of megaprojects driving thousands of construction jobs and creating high-paying, long-term employment opportunities. Intel's $20 billion Fab 52 and 62 semiconductor plants in Chandler are set to open in 2024, along with the $12 billion TSMC semiconductor factory in north Phoenix.

The Taiwanese company has even announced a second factory that will bring their total Arizona investment to $40 billion. Sunlit Chemical, another Taiwanese company, is investing $100 million into its 900,000 sq ft facility that will produce Hydrofluoric acid and other industrial chemicals for the semiconductor industry. They plan to complete the first phase of the project in 2023 and finish the second phase by 2025.

In Glendale west of Phoenix, Nestle USA is building a 630,000 sq ft factory that is expected to open in 2024 and cost $675 million to build. It will produce creamers for consumers. Edwards and EMD Electronics have projects underway in Chandler which support the semiconductor sector while Corning's manufacturing plant looks set to open in Gilbert next year as well.

Arizona is experiencing a huge surge in manufacturing activity, with electric vehicle manufacturers Nikola and Lucid both expanding their operations in Pinal County. Companies like Cirba Solutions, ecube, Solvay, Kohler and KPCT Advanced Chemicals have all invested in the state's economy, creating thousands of jobs for Arizonans.

The Arizona Commerce Authority noted that Arizona witnessed the fastest year-over-year nationwide growth in October for manufacturing jobs, with more than 15,000 positions being added through November. Mesa has specifically benefited from this economic boom. ElectraMeccanica just opened their electric vehicle factory there and other organizations such as JX Nippon have chosen to locate there due to factors such as Arizona's business-friendly environment, strong infrastructure, reliable workforce, and robust supply chain system.

JX Nippon Mining & Metals USA Inc.'s impressive 273,000-sq-ft electronic materials manufacturing plant is expected to become operational in early 2024. Located on 63 acres, this facility is the wholly owned subsidiary of JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp. in Tokyo. The project was designed by Kajima Architects based in Atlanta with build support from Kimley-Horn, and will produce components for semiconductors as well as double the production of JX USA's Chandler plant. Targeting a LEED Gold certification, the building will feature solar-covered parking, electric vehicle charging and low-water desert landscaping.

JX USA plans to use the site for business development and make it the center of company business in the advanced materials field in the US according to Brian Valliere, Director of Operations who notes that land grading has been completed along with foundation and underground construction work beginning.

Another development at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is XNRGY's 250,000-sq-ft U.S headquarters located in Boyer Co.'s master planned 270-acre Gateway East development with XNRGY being its first locator in Phase 1. This $75-plus million project aims to focus on climate solutions for life sciences research and development, health care, data centers, semiconductor clean rooms and battery manufacturing.

XNRGY has begun the early stages of development and permitting for their project, with plans to begin in the first half of 2023, according to Ryan Abbott, executive vice president for Clayco's Southwest region. With an anticipated completion of Phase 1 in the first quarter of 2024, sustainability is top priority for both XNRGY's products and facilities.

Jeffrey Maas from Gensler, the project architect, plans to target LEED certification through strategies such as reducing embodied carbon and water use. A concrete additive is being explored for integration into concrete panels to reduce carbon impact, along with a complex manufacturing system requiring meticulous integration and commissioning strategies due to increasing demand for sophisticated building construction while labor and components are reduced. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic is set to open their manufacturing facility at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport with operations expected in late 2023 that will produce up to six Delta-class spaceships each year.

Boeing's PhantomWorks will also be opening this fall with a 155,000-sq-ft classified facility producing advanced composite parts for combat aircrafts. Lastly Gulfstream customer support continues leasing hangar space in anticipation of the $100-million 225,000-sq-ft service center by 2023.

Electric truck manufacturer Nikola is embarking on an ambitious expansion of its Phase 2 assembly plant in Coolidge, Ariz. Thanks to the project's completion by the first quarter of 2023, 20,000 units can be produced annually. Near to the facility, Proctor & Gamble are constructing a 427-acre manufacturing plant to work on fabric care. Scheduled to go live in 2025, Inland Port Arizona will start construction by 2023. Chang Chun Arizona is developing its very first U.S.-based petrochemical facility in Casa Grande, some 30 miles away from Coolidge.

Featuring electronic-grade Hydrogen Peroxide and other solutions for wafer production, the $300 million building should be available by Q2, 2023 with full implementation in 2025. The Phoenix-based Archicon Architects are handling the administrative building design while PGAL is working on technical infrastructure and Mortenson acting as general contractor. 

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