The city of Hutto appears to have finished as the runner-up in a nationwide competition to land electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors' proposed $5 billion factory.
Several national news outlets reported Sept. 3 that a site near the city of Reno, Nevada, had been chosen as the final location for the factory, which is expected to produce batteries for Tesla's line of electric cars. Joey Grisham, president of the Hutto Economic Development Corp., confirmed the city of Hutto had been in negotiations with Tesla for nearly one year prior to the announcement.
"It would have totally transformed Hutto, Texas. We are definitely disappointed, but this is something we think we can grab the coattails of," Grisham said. "Any time you grab national attention for something like this it is a positive. We are optimistic something good will come out of this."
According to Grisham, the Hutto EDC, with the assistance of the city of Taylor, Hutto ISD, Williamson County and the state of Texas, put together an incentive package worth more than $800 million over 20 years. Grisham said the cities of Hutto and Taylor had secured more than 1,000 acres of land south of the intersection of Hwy. 79 and FM 3349 to build the factory with rail access nearby. It was believed the factory would have brought approximately 6,500 jobs to the area.
"We came up with an agreement where Hutto would give [Tesla] water and Taylor would provide natural gas," he said. "The site was perfect for this enterprise."
Grisham said the Hutto EDC began negotiations with Tesla in November and had met with company representatives at least 10 times since. He said a Tesla representative told him earlier this year the Hutto/Taylor location was one of the company's final two sites under consideration. Ultimately, Grisham said he believes the Nevada site was chosen because of its proximity to Tesla's assembly factory in California.
"There were so many ups and downs, and it was really a roller coaster ride," he said. "It is not every day you run into a $5 billion project."
However, Grisham believes the site remains a viable option for a large-scale development in the future.
"We are going to keep the site. It is one of the few mega sites in the state—it has got the rail [access] and everything on-site," he said. "The next [project] isn't going to be as big, but even if we get 500 or 1,000 jobs, that is huge."