Electric vehicle maker Tesla announced on July 22 that it had selected Austin for a $ 1.1 billion factory that will employ at least 5,000 people.
The 4 to 5 million square foot facility will be located on approximately 2,100 acres along State Highway 130 near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Travis County and the Del Valle Independent School District approved approximately $ 60 million in tax incentives for the Tesla plant.
With this trophy, the capital could receive another award for economic development – the headquarters of the automaker.
Billionaire Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, has hinted that he could move his company’s headquarters from Silicon Valley to Texas. The decision to build Tesla’s next facility here increases the likelihood that headquarters will be relocated to central Texas, says a site selection expert.
The plant announcement means that Tesla’s headquarters “is definitely in the game and Austin needs to keep abreast of what’s going on,” John Boyd Jr., New Jersey corporate location consultant, told CultureMap. Austin, he adds, “is clearly a top contender for what we have called the holy grail of business attraction – corporate headquarters.”
Boyd points out that Tesla’s current headquarters staff are spread across multiple offices in Silicon Valley, which he believes is “not an efficient scenario.” Boyd said consolidating HQ staff into a single location in Austin would not only cut costs, but also get Tesla executives within a three-hour non-stop flight from any coast.
Currently, government and business leaders in the Austin area are celebrating their victory over Tulsa, Oklahoma in securing the new Tesla factory.
“We’re going to turn it into a factory that will be breathtaking. It’s right on the Colorado River, ”Musk said on July 22nd during Tesla’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts.
Work on the east Travis County site began last weekend, Musk said. He promises that the site will feature a boardwalk and hiking and biking trails that will be open to the public.
“It’s basically going to be an ecological paradise – birds in the trees, butterflies, fish in the stream,” Musk said on the call for entries.
Tesla’s second US auto factory will produce the new Cybertruck pickup along with Model Y SUVs, Model 3 luxury cars and Tesla heavy semi-trucks. The company’s other US auto plant is in Fremont, California. It also operates automakers in China and Germany.
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce estimates that for every job created in Tesla’s new Gigafactory, four additional jobs will be created in the region. In the end, that could mean 25,000 Tesla and spin-off jobs in the Austin area.
“Tesla’s decision to build its newest gigafactory in Austin will expand and enhance our culture of innovation while offering all segments of our central Texas workforce new and exciting career opportunities,” said Gary Farmer, chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Opportunity Austin Initiative Commerce. says in a publication dated July 22nd. “The company’s pioneering spirit and advanced manufacturing technologies will make a significant contribution to the economic recovery of our region and to our long-term sustainable growth.”
Tesla says the average annual wage of workers at the plant will be $ 47,147, with the minimum wage set at $ 15 an hour. Austin Mayor Steve Adler notes that the factory will offer thousands of high-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree.
“Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texan economy strongest in the nation and create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans,” said Governor Greg Abbott in a July 22 press release.