Ever wish you could design your own car and make it with a 3-D printer?
The developers at National Harbor say they will soon offer you that chance.
Builders of the 350-acre waterfront complex in Prince George’s County on Monday announced plans to open a laboratory, micro-factory, showroom and sales room for Local Motors, a Phoenix-based company that makes and sells products created by 3-D printers.
The Prince George’s County Council would have to approve zoning changes to bring a factory to National Harbor, and the cars produced by Local Motors so far are not approved by the federal government to travel on main roads.
But county officials say they nevertheless are thrilled at the idea of hosting what would be the first Local Motors outpost to print, refine and assemble a fleet of cars via 3-D printer. The proposed location at National Harbor would also have a large retail component, officials said, where hundreds of other 3-D-printed items would be sold.
“It’s like an IKEA. People will come from all around to experience it,” said Justin Fishkin, chief strategy officer for Local Motors.
He said his company believes that the Washington region is full of engineers and innovators who would come to the National Harbor location to experiment.
Founded in 2007, Local Motors is trying to revolutionize the auto industry by crowdsourcing designs and then building and selling the cars locally.
The company, which has locations in Phoenix and Las Vegas, invites the public to propose designs for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles, then provides the 3-D printers to build the vehicles out of carbon-infused plastic.
The vehicles sometimes are built using pre-packaged engines from established automakers such as General Motors.
At the Detroit Auto Show on Monday, Local Motors debuted a miniaturized version of its Strati roadster, which it says is the world’s first functional 3-D printed car.
The company has also produced a race car (“The Rally Fighter,” advertised online for nearly $100,000), a motorcycle (“The Racer” $18,750), a motorized bicycle ($3,799) and a motorized tricycle ($1,699).
“Local Motors is changing the way you experience motor vehicles,” Jay Rogers, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “Our micro-factories are a central hub for engaging both online and physical communities.”
National Harbor’s developer, the Peterson Cos., has added a Tanger outlet center, new apartments and a 180-foot-high Ferris wheel in recent years. A $925 million MGM hotel and casino is scheduled to open in 2016.
The company has struggled to get approval to build a Wal-Mart store nearby, however. And the National Children’s Museum, which opened at National Harbor in 2012, recently decided to seek a permanent home elsewhere.
Jon M. Peterson, principal of the Peterson Companies, said the developer wondered at first whether adding a factory to the harbor complex could work. But after touring the Local Motors location in Phoenix, he said, they decided the proposed facility had “intrinsic and extrinsic value” for visitors and locals.