Let's Make a Mega-Deal
16 Jan 2023
Let's Make a Mega-Deal
How a highway transformed a small city into a boomtown.
by RON STARNER
The City of Pflugerville touts its location as “between a rock and a weird place.” That’s a clever way of saying this Central Texas city is in the middle of Round Rock and Austin.
But there’s nothing rocky or weird about its location when it comes to business development. By all accounts, this booming Austin suburb of 75,500 is rapidly becoming one of the premier destinations for corporate site selection in middle Texas.
But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to what the experts have to say about Pflugerville.
“Austin has exploded, and now that explosion is moving into that next ring of communities,” says Tracey Hyatt Bosman, managing director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company in Chicago. “We were just looking at sites in Greater Austin last week. It is an attractive region with an expanding workforce. There is a lot of momentum in the outlying areas of the Austin region, and Pflugerville is one of those places that has been very welcoming of new business.”
Case in point is REE Automotive. The Israel-based electric vehicle technology company recently opened its first North American headquarters in Pflugerville. The firm will produce electric car parts at its new facility in the One Thirty Business Park just off State Highway 130.
– Tracey Hyatt Bosman, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company
The company said it is establishing a long-term home in Texas in order to take advantage of increasing demand for EVs in North America. REE is taking up 120,000 sq. ft. of space in Pflugerville and investing $24.5 million. An 8-year agreement with the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. (PCDC) will provide the firm with up to $8 million in grants.
REE leaders say they plan to hire at least 125 full-time positions in the community.
“REE’s North American headquarters and integration center is an excellent fit for our diverse and talented workforce,” said Amy Madison, executive director of the PCDC. “This expands autonomous and electric car technology in the Austin region and provides growth opportunities for the state of Texas electric vehicle industry as a whole.”
Big Projects Act Like Talent Magnets
Madison says Pflugerville is no stranger to working on breakthrough projects. “Our mega-deal was Amazon,” she says. “They built a 3.8 million-sq.-ft., 4.5-story facility that sits on 92 acres and employs 1,500 people here. It is located on the southern end of Pflugerville. We were one of the very first communities in Greater Austin to land a mega-deal. The other was Taylor.”
Taylor, located on the northeastern outskirts of the Austin metro area, landed a $17 billion semiconductor plant investment from Samsung in 2021.
Mega-projects like Amazon and Samsung prove that the metro area has the employment capacity to staff big projects, says Madison. “All of these mega-projects landing around us are playing into what our future holds for recruitment,” she says. “We have proven that we can accommodate the needs of these very large projects.”
In a region that now has Tesla, Apple, Samsung, Dell and Amazon, Pflugerville stands poised to land its fair share of suppliers, vendors and the vast array of service providers needed to make the ecosystem hum on all cylinders.
Bosman says that site selectors take this into account when scouting a metro area. They want to make sure that the labor will be there when the employer arrives.
“From a labor perspective, we are sensitive to where these mega-projects are going,” says Bosman. “The concern is always around how hard it may be for another project to ramp up in that same metro area. We are always looking at their ramp-up schedules. You also have to look at the availability of construction labor. Can you get anything else built?”
Bosman notes that “in some ways it can be a double-edged sword, but it is more good than bad. There are some side effects to having this many mega-projects in one region, but in Austin, we assume that the talent will keep moving there to fill these jobs.”
A Road ‘Made Us What We Are Today’
Another dynamic is the competition that takes place to land these deals. Madison, who serves on the board of directors of the Atlanta-based Industrial Asset Management Council, notes that in the case of REE, “it was a very competitive project both inside and outside the region. What really impressed them most about Pflugerville was our true interest in them. They knew that we would assist them throughout the site selection process and beyond. We had demonstrated that with other projects. They felt confident that we could meet their needs and help them meet all of the deadlines they had set for the project.”
Madison says Pflugerville will continue to evolve and grow even as more companies choose to build new plants in the community. “Pflugerville was like an island for many years, and then State Highway 130 changed all that,” she notes. “That road has made us what we are today. No one knew that we would see the kind of large, impactful projects in manufacturing that have come here since. It was up to us to keep our environment very business-friendly and to have available land and utilities.”
Pflugerville has done all that and more.
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. For more information, contact Amy Madison at 512-990-3725 or email@example.com. On the web, go to www.pfdevelopment.com.
View article on Site Selection Magazine HERE