Samsung may be getting bigger in Austin and Taylor — a $192.1B investment

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Samsung is looking to expand even further in Williamson and Travis counties, incentive applications made public with the Texas Comptroller’s office show.

According to the tech giant’s Chapter 313 applications, published on Wednesday, it’s looking to invest $192.1 billion more in the form of two new chipmaking plants at it’s current Northeast Austin campus, and nine more plants to Taylor, where one plant is already in the works.

That would all bring in at least 10,000 new jobs to the cities of Austin and Taylor, according to the documents.

“We currently do not have specific plans to build at this time, however, the Chapter 313 applications to the State of Texas are part of a long-term planning process of Samsung to evaluate the viability of potentially building additional fabrication plants in the United States,” Michele Glaze, spokesperson for Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC, told KXAN’s media partners at the Austin Business Journal.

In November, Samsung announced it would build a $17 billion chipmaking plant in Taylor, bringing with it more than 2,000 tech jobs.

Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell said he is still trying to wrap his head around what that plant will mean for his community– let alone nine more.

“That’s like trying to have an understanding of the limits of the universe,” he said. “I just, I have no concept. I’m almost speechless whenever I try to talk about this.”

“We’re about to embark on what I consider a golden age in this community,” Rydell added.

“We’re about to embark on what I consider a golden age in this community.”

Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell

He and Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell measure their excitement, saying the applications indicate Samsung’s interest, but there’s no agreement, just yet.

Gravell said federal incentives will also be key in getting Samsung to expand, pointing to the Chips Act that passed a hurdle in Congress Tuesday night. According to CNBC, the legislation would offer about $50 billion in subsidies for chipmaking plants in the U.S.

Economic impact

Economist Angelos Angelou said Samsung’s initial investment in Austin has had a “phenomenal” impact.

“When you look at the capital investment of $16 billion, when you look at 2,500 jobs that are decently paying high and high wage jobs, you know, you’re going to be looking at close to 35 to $45 billion worth of economic impact for the Greater Austin area,” he said.

He estimated Samsung’s current $17 billion plant being built in Taylor will have close to a $50 billion impact on the local economy.

And with the possible further expansion of 11 more plants in Central Texas?

“Their combined investment now… that is going to happen in Taylor as well as Austin makes them the largest foreign direct investment in the US and in the world– of all time,” Angelou said.

Judge Gravell said Taylor ISD would see the most benefit from the expansion, which would open up “hundreds of millions of dollars” to the school district.

“If all of these projects happen, there’s going to be, in the days ahead, where the Taylor School District has to lower their property taxes, because they have so much revenue coming in,” Gravell said.

He said Taylor High students have already started interning with Samsung.

“If we can afford a kid the opportunity to learn a little bit about a culture company in an environment, and then encourage them to go on to higher education, whether it’s trade school, or whether it’s college education, now they have an opportunity to come back home and work at home,” he explained.

Other impacts: Challenges

Judge Gravell and Mayor Rydell said they both guessed there would be a possible expansion back when they inked the Taylor facility deal.

“Our master plan designed for roads in the area never was for one semiconductor manufacturing plant, it was for multiple plants,” Gravell said. “So, the road infrastructure that we’re putting in, which is in the design build phase, will easily meet the demand of 10 manufacturing facilities.”

Rydell said for the city, it’s going to be about putting some revenue they get from Samsung aside for things like roads and infrastructure.

“We’re an old city, we deal with a lot of old infrastructure, we struggle to keep up with maintenance of our existing streets and water lines, wastewater lines,” he said.

He said neighbors have also already voiced concern about housing.

“The housing stock, diversity of housing, and whether this growth that was coming was going to be inclusive, and that people who are in Taylor could afford to remain here,” Rydell said.

He said they hope to incorporate more mixed-use developments as they grow, and are already having “difficult” conversations with developers.

Rydell said he’s confident they can manage the growth while holding onto Taylor’s small-town character.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge now with with Samsung, and potentially with their vast expansion of what they’re planning on doing here,” he said. “But it’s going to take discipline and willpower and focus.”

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