All Eyes are on Highway 79
Q4 2021 Austin Office Outlook
The hook is set, and the papers are signed. Samsung is opening a $17 billion plant in Taylor TX. Their decision to choose Texas was in part due to the “raft” of incentives offered by state and local officials. These incentives add up to almost $8 billion in subsidies according to data from Good Jobs First, a Washington-based policy resource center. Williamson County offers a business-friendly environment that is sure to entice other high-tech manufacturing companies into the area.
Also in consideration is the infrastructure and proximity this plant will be to major manufacturing projects already under construction in the Austin area. First is the RCR Taylor Logistics Park which is a rail-served logistics and industrial park which is expected to be completed in September of 2022. Secondly, Tesla’s 4.2 million SF foot Gigafactory located just to the south of Taylor, will certainly benefit from a major superconductor manufacturing plant. This has generated increased attention to the multiple “shovel-ready” lots along this stretch of highway. One such lot is the 1,400-acre Hutto “Mega Site” which is just west of the proposed Samsung factory.
This announcement comes on the heels of a labor shortage. Unemployment in Austin is at 3.5% and now hiring signs litter the city. Samsung claims the latest expansion is expected to create 2,000 high-tech jobs directly and thousands of related jobs once the new facility is in full operation. To combat the labor shortage, Samsung will also contribute financial support to create a Samsung Skills Center for the Taylor Independent School District. This will help students develop skills for future careers as well as provide internships and recruiting opportunities.
Samsung cited their reason for investing in Taylor was based on multiple factors, including the local semiconductor ecosystem, infrastructure stability, local government support, and community development opportunities. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has begun developing a “backstop reliability service” that would focus on dispatchable power generators (energy providers that are ready at a moment’s notice such as oil and geothermal). This will alleviate the load on the grid and the goal would be to reduce the chance of power outages. Samsung was forced to completely shut down during the winter storm, causing an estimated loss of $268 million.
Samsung’s decision to invest in Taylor will be a welcome addition to the other 250 plus companies circling the Austin area. The future sure looks bright for Austin and all Central Texas.