Announcement:  California Automotive Technology Testing & Development Center (CATDC) Expansion to Be Constructed in 2019

State of California Announces Investment For Main Campus Expansion; First Phase Open Now

Merced County, California, September 14, 2018  –  Funding has been put in-place and the site secured to build a global hub for a large-scale automotive technology testing and development complex in California.  The California AutoTech Testing and Development Center CATDC is a 700-acre project that is being developed in Merced County which is located near to and directly to the east of Silicon Valley.  The purpose-built testbed project is being planned, designed and engineered to be an important asset for developing many of the new technologies and applications that are shaping the future of human mobility. The CATDC is open currently and will complete an major expansion in mid-2019 with the construction of a campus with a range of test zone types.

The project site in Atwater is ideal as it’s an easy commute to all points in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley in particular, allowing convenient same-day testing and development activity in a secure, private and purpose-built environment.  The site is a former US Air Force military installation, which provides a wide range of high-quality infrastructure and significant land area to craft state-of-the-art specially designed assets for the automotive and technology sector.

Situated as a laboratory extension of the huge Silicon Valley technology and automotive presence, the CATDC serves as a testing and development hub for legacy global OEMs, pure technology company players and new-technology start-ups. In addition to working with many of the largest automotive and technology players in the automotive sector, the project has a special focus on: new foreign company entrants to the North American market, and smaller companies that are pursuing new corporate partnerships, financing and government procurement.

When complete, the CATDC will include multiple test zones focused on supporting product testing and development in the areas of: 1) vehicle autonomy, 2) propulsion/powertrain systems, 3) active safety and 4) connected vehicle communications.  In addition to current high-speed testing and urban grid facilities that are currently open, the purpose-built multizone CATDC Main Campus will be constructed on a 400+ acre site in early 2019 and will be open in the Summer, 2019.

  • The project’s zones are designed to provide real-world test environments including high-speed, urban grid, suburban road course, variable weather, multi-pavement and road conditions and situations.
  • The Main Campus will be a secure site with perimeter fencing and gate access controls. In addition to testing infrastructure, the CATDC Main Campus will provide an array of onsite assets and services to support partner business needs, including buildings for vehicle development, secure storage for vehicles and equipment and office space.
  • Special amenities will include meeting and conference space, client showcase facilities and high-capacity, secure high-speed internet.  A conference center is already built at the site which offers modern meeting space for partners.  Understanding that the project will draw a range of business visitors and staff teams for extended periods, the site includes plans for the future development of a high-quality extended stay hotel.
  • The site will be served by the future Altamont Corridor Express Project which will offer efficient commuter train transportation between the site and points in Silicon Valley.  The future California High-Speed Rail line will also serve the site when completed.

Currently, the CATDC operates high-speed and an urban grid test zones on a substantial system of existing infrastructure.  Separately, Google/Waymo is already located on the site with their proprietary off-public road test complex.  A range of other US-based, Asian and European and technology OEM and technology firms are presently conducting testing and development at the project.

The CATDC is a component of the larger 2,000 acre Mid-California International Trade District (MCITD) which is designed to be a globally important US West Coast technology, manufacturing and logistics hub. The MCITD is a master-planned commerce center complex that enables seamless supply chain management for manufacturers in high-technology sectors. The project is unique as it is built on a “quadrimodal business platform” with transport connectivity via new road infrastructure ($250M), an onsite heavy-infrastructure airport, new rail infrastructure and connectivity to the Los Angeles area seaports complex.  The MCITD has crafted a unique business partnership with the Port of Los Angeles, this providing extraordinarily efficient supply chain connectivity to Asian markets.

The project development partners are Merced County, the State of California and GLDPartners Auto.  The project is a vision of Merced County and has had the full support of its Board of Supervisors, senior executive leadership and staff; the County owns the property and with GLDPartners is managing the development of the overall 2,000 acre Mid-California International Trade District.  Following the County’s management and with outstanding leadership from State Assemblyman Adam Gray and State Senator Anthony Cannella, the State of California has agreed to an investment of $6.5M in the CATDC project as part of the 2018-2019 state budget.  Overall, the project’s next phase is a $21M project.  Additionally, the project has had support from a range of university partners including UC Berkeley,  Carnegie-Mellon, USC and UC Merced.

GLDPartners Auto is managing the planning, design, development and operations of the project.  From extensive experience in the automotive industry, the firm strongly believes that California’s labor skills, location, logistics connectivity and deep presence in the automotive/technology space positions it to become a global center at the intersection of technology and mobility.  Worldwide, we foresee only a few mobility technology centers and California is clearly one of those and perhaps the chief global center.

Merced County is a full-service California local government and has 280,000 population. The County’s land area is almost 2,000 square miles and its county seat is Merced.  Merced County adjoins Santa Clara County whose county seat is San Jose and includes the technology hubs in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto.  GLDPartners is an international investment, project development and advisory firm and has offices in the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK.  GLDPartners Auto works with the automotive industry on strategy, supply chain management and testing and development.

For more information:

Please call Adam Wasserman at 623.341.1383 or email to

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GLDPartners is an international investment and advisory firm that specializes in revenue and infrastructure development projects at and around high-opportunity airports, seaports and strategic trade and logistics hubs. GLDPartners Auto is a specialist firm that produces custom solutions for the automotive and mobility sector.  GLDPartners’ clients and market perspective is global and the firm is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, with offices in New York, Washington DC, Wisconsin and in the UK.