Two local deals look to lure Tesla to Central Texas
AUSTIN, Texas - Land along Harold Green Road and SH 130 is mostly open except for a company that makes concrete. It's now identified as the place for a Tesla high tech auto manufacturing site.
The proposed site includes land on both sides of SH 130 with almost 50 parcels. The facility would be massive, up to 5 million square feet.
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Tesla founder Elon Musk started talking about a move after getting into a dispute with officials in California. He reportedly wants a new plant to produce his Model Y-vehicle and Tesla's new truck.
To help make it happen, Del Valle ISD will have to approve one of several possible tax abatement deals. Documents released by the state comptroller's office show the school plan involves giving Tesla a property tax break over 10 years. It totals almost $70 million.
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In return, the company could eventually create 5,000 jobs. Residents of Del Valle didn't know much about the tax break for jobs idea, but they do believe it means more growth. "It's kind of quiet out here, not that bad of traffic yet, but it's whatever, you can't stop it,” said Clifton Pettit.
The growth accelerated when COTA was built, according to Fae Machado who says the area has name recognition now. "I think it's good, we are bringing people in, getting people from Bastrop, I think it's really a good thing,” said Machado.
In a statement sent to FOX 7 Austin, Del Valle ISD superintendent Dr. Annette Tielle expressed support for the plan saying: "This type of partnership could provide our students authentic, rigorous, and practical internship, apprenticeship, and work-study programs in the areas of robotics, engineering, manufacturing, and STEM."
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A recent Del Valle high school graduate and incoming senior think classmates will take advantage of the opportunities the superintendent believes could happen. "It's 2020 right now, all the tech and stuff, it's getting better, more tech the better,” said LaTroy Thompson.
It's estimated Tesla could also create 4,000 spin-off and support jobs. Opportunity, possibility, for people like Zaviann White. "It sounds like a good idea, there's a lot of people growing up in Del Valle, I feel like they would,” said White.
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The school district has identified the site as a “Tesla reinvestment zone.” A vote on the deal by the school board could come in September. If approved it may take three years to transform the nearly two-thousand acres of land - into what the company calls a "gigafactory."
Late Friday afternoon Travis County released some details about its plan. It’s a strings-attached deal giving Tesla a $14 million tax rebate over 10 years. The company would first have to pay all of its taxes, a little more than $20 million, and then go under an independent review before getting the rebate. If the company fails to live up to its part, specifically creating jobs, it doesn’t get the tax break.
Travis County commissioners will be briefed on the proposal next week.