Could the heart of the U.S. oil industry suddenly find itself home to an electric car company?
Most media outlets didn’t take it seriously when Tesla CEO and product architect Elon Musk threatened to move his factories from California to Texas, citing his frustration with restrictive CA tax laws. However, with the breaking headlines that Tesla is eyeing a 2,100-acre plot of land 12 miles outside Austin for its major new electric car factory, naysayers may have to change their tune.
Elon Musk’s plans for a new Gigafactory
Everything’s bigger in Texas—including big plans for growth. Gigantic plans, one might say.
Founded less than two decades ago in 2003, Tesla is by now a household name for its expensive, distinctive line of electric vehicles, with the company’s market value at over 150 billion dollars. And CEO Elon Musk has been searching for the perfect site to build another massive Gigafactory manufacturing plant in the US, where he would, notably, be able to begin production of Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck, which already has over 650,000 pre-orders.
The electric car company has filed papers with the state that support Tesla’ s clear interest in the site, in a land use application that shows the enormous site would be sold to Tesla for over 5.2 million dollars. In return, the documents filed by Tesla promise a billion dollars of investment in new construction and personal property in the area, not to mention thousands of new jobs, with construction that could begin as early as October 2020.
Musk is infamous for being courted with valuable incentives from cities and states dying to host the newest Tesla manufacturing plants, so the land itself isn’t all that’s on the table in Travis County. Tesla also stands to receive a hefty (and controversial) package of tax incentives from the district that would amount to tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and rebates over the next decade.
Tesla’s still keeping its options open, Musk tweeted recently, playing it close to the chest about whether Travis County or its main competitor, Tulsa, OK, will be home to his newest Gigafactory. Still, it’s clear that the idea of the factory coming to Texas is extremely popular: in a February Twitter poll, 80% of Musk’s respondents gave a resounding affirmative to the idea of a “Giga Texas.”
What it means for Texas land real estate
It’s not surprising that the idea of a Texan Tesla factory appeals to the imagination of so many people. It’s a vision attractive enough to overcome the handful of complicated obstacles still facing the plan, such as Texan laws against direct automobile sales in-state. After all, Texas is a state that loves its trucks—maybe it will get the chance to embrace the Cybertruck, too.
In any case, whatever Musk’s final decision ends up being, these headlines help underscore Austin’s status as the premier technology manufacturing region in the United States. As home to the iconic SXSW conference and a new one billion dollar Apple campus, Austin is the site of one of the hottest tech booms in the country, to the extent that some are calling the area “Silicon Hills.”
Although owners and agents of rural and land real estate in Texas might assume the effects of the tech boom are more relevant to those selling properties in big cities and metro areas, these Tesla headlines speak to the opposite being true.
Major investors and tech companies from outside of Texas aren’t just turning to the state to find private homes in city penthouses for themselves—they’re also poised to make big purchases of land for sale in Austin, as well as the rest of the state, to host their business ventures and factory plants.
As a result, real estate agents and brokers may soon be facing steep competition to draw the attention of investors like Elon Musk.
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