Austin may soon be home to a tech plant that would dwarf the Tesla Gigafactory in both investment and job creation.
Samsung Electronics Co. is considering starting construction on a $10 billion memory chip plant in Austin as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported Friday.
The Samsung plant would compete with industry leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is scheduled to begin construction on a $12 billion semiconductor factory in Phoenix later this year.
Samsung is capitalizing on a federal effort to draw advanced manufacturing plants away from Asia, Bloomberg reported.
Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC purchased roughly 258 acres of land in Northeast Austin in late October, near its existing chip manufacturing plant. Last month, Austin City Council approved a rezoning request from the company to allow for industrial use.
"The proposed (zoning) agreement will reflect almost the same conditions approved on the current Samsung Austin Semiconductor site," Case Manager Sherri Sirwaitis wrote in a staff report submitted to the council.
Samsung opened its first Austin plant in 1997 and has since expanded its campus, which now spans roughly 300 acres and employs around 3,000 people, according to the Austin Business Journal.
The company also has a long history of working with state and local governments on tax incentive deals. Between 2009 and 2019, Travis County rebated Samsung $65 million as part of an ongoing incentives agreement.
One of the people close to the matter told Bloomberg that the company may go ahead without such an incentives agreement. But the Travis County Commissioners Court is scheduled to consider whether to accept an application for an economic incentive agreement on Tuesday. A spokesperson would not say which company has filed the application—nicknamed "Project Silicon Silver."
Travis County commissioners last considered an unnamed economic incentives agreement application in May 2020, which was later revealed to have been filed by Tesla. They later approved a multimillion-dollar incentives agreement for the electric automaker, which is currently building a $1.1 billion Gigafactory in Southeast Travis County.
In response to criticism regarding the agreement, Travis County commissioners voted unanimously last month to amend its economic incentives policy to include community input requirements. As a result, if commissioners vote to accept the Project Silicon Silver application, the court will be required to post draft agreements publicly and host public hearings before taking action on any incentive agreement.
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