Samsung Electronics has settled on the City of Taylor, 35 miles northeast of Austin, for construction of a $17 billion new chip plant, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported Monday. Measuring 51.7 million square feet, the new facility would be four times larger than Samsung's existing plant on East Parmer Lane in Austin.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell confirmed a meeting this week of Samsung representatives and local officials, saying the chip plant would be a "significant economic development project with thousands of jobs" brought to Williamson County.
He added, "Good paying jobs for all skill levels to drive economic growth in our region are needed now more than ever, and we are committed to doing everything we can to land this project and bring it home to Williamson County. Stay tuned."
No official announcement has been made by Samsung. A spokesperson issued the following statement to Austonia: "All sites are under consideration and each community is performing the appropriate due diligence to put themselves in the best position for this opportunity. The actions by Williamson County and City of Taylor are part of their due diligence."
A special joint meeting of the Williamson County Commissioners Court and the Taylor City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the Taylor ISD Event Center, 3101 N. Main Street in Taylor. The meeting is open to the public.
Joongang Daily, quoting a source at the South Korea-based tech giant, reported that Samsung "has thoroughly reviewed four to five locations for the Star Project."
"What I learn is that (Samsung) finally chose Taylor after taking into account investment incentives and geographic conditions," the source said. The deal is said to include tax abatement and development agreements with the City of Taylor.
Samsung had considered several other U.S. locations. They included upstate New York; Phoenix, Ariz., and in the Manor, Tex., ISD, near its existing Austin plant. The newspaper said the Manor site was abandoned following the temporary shutdown of the Austin factory because of a power outage during the Texas freeze in February. The outage reportedly cost Samsung $350 million.
That turned Samsung off on the Manor site, according to an "industry insider" quoted by Joongang Daily.
"If you set up the new facility in a location away from the Austin plant, it could cost Samsung more for the supply of water and electricity and the establishment of other infrastructure," the source in the semiconductor industry said. "But the advantage is that it can operate the line in a more stable manner."
Samsung is engaging in a vast expansion of its semiconductor business to meet the demand for chips in telecommunications, biopharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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