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California-based construction company closing Phoenix factory

(Katerra Photo)

PHOENIX – A high-tech design and construction company based in the Bay Area is closing its west Phoenix factory and laying off workers after a new California facility made it obsolete.

Katerra announced Tuesday it plans to close the 250,000-square-foot facility near 43rd Avenue and Van Buren Street by the end of the year.

The semi-automated factory opened in 2017 and was Katerra’s first building components plant. It also has a showroom where clients can see the company’s products.

The Menlo Park-based company, which specializes in modular construction and was founded in 2015, is cutting 200 jobs, according to Bloomberg.

The website said the company will provide 90-day severance packages with full pay and benefits.

“We appreciate the contributions of our Phoenix factory employees, and we’re committed to supporting them during this transition to minimize personal impact,” the company said in press release.

“We look forward to our continued operational presence in Arizona with many employees and building projects in design and under construction.”

The Phoenix factory manufactures a variety of construction components, including wall panels, roof truss assemblies, floor systems and cabinetry.

Katerra will move that work to a new, fully automated factory in Tracy, California.

“We have invested significantly in developing proprietary automation technologies for our Tracy factory,” Matt Ryan, head of manufacturing for Katerra, said in the release.

“Tracy features 30 fixed robots, 12 mobile robots, and a digital manufacturing process using self-guided vehicle technology. It is a step-change from our Phoenix factory, accelerating Katerra’s production of high-quality building components manufactured to precision.”

The company has hired around 200 employees for the Tracy plant and plans to add 300 more by the end of 2020.

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