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By Marissa Luck – CoStar News

Documents Show More Buildings in the Works at Tesla’s Newest US Plant.

Construction on Tesla’s electric car factory is underway on the sprawling site by the Colorado River in Austin, Texas. Pictured is an aerial shot of the site taken in February 2021.

Tesla’s newest U.S. electric car plant is rapidly progressing in Austin, Texas, and now CEO Elon Musk is already making plans for another expansion of the manufacturing site in a project that could be tied to SpaceX, the billionaire’s private space exploration company.

Colorado River Project, an affiliate of Tesla, has filed plans for a new industrial facility on 150 acres just east of Austin at the site where it has more than 2,400 acres at 1301 Harold Green Road, according to city of Austin permitting documents.

It’s not clear how large this latest project would be, but the filing says it would not exceed 6.6 million square feet. A copy of the site plan in the permit application was not immediately available for the expansion project that is called “Bobcat Project” in city of Austin documents.

Representatives for Bobcat Project listed on the application such as engineering firm Kimley-Horn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tesla’s automaking factory under construction on the land is expected to be 4 million to 5 million square feet but has the green light to build up to 7.9 million square feet, or about 65% of a 181-acre site, according to Austin permitting documents. That square footage includes driveways, pavement and parking spaces in addition to buildings. Tesla expects to open its auto manufacturing plant in Austin later this year.

Andy Linseisen, assistant director of Austin’s Development Services Department, previously told CoStar News that Tesla does not have to provide the city with many details about its plans, including a breakdown of how many square feet of building space is expected in the project. That’s because the site at 12733-13101 Harold Green Road is technically not within Austin city limits; it’s within the Austin “extra-territorial jurisdiction” area about 5 miles outside the city, Linseisen noted.

Some observers have speculated that Bobcat Project could be tied to SpaceX, which Musk founded in 2002. SpaceX is developing a Starlink satellite internet system that is expected to be a low-orbit constellation of thousands of satellites aimed at providing access to high-speed internet.

In March, SpaceX posted a job listing for Starlink software engineers in Austin, although the listing has since been taken down. Screenshots of the posting taken by CoStar News at the time suggest the position would be remote in Austin. However, the listing said that SpaceX would be “breaking ground on a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.”

Officials with Tesla and SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment. Although Tesla and SpaceX are both based in California, Musk announced last year he personally relocated to an undisclosed location in Texas, earning him the accolade of being the richest person residing in the Lone Star State. Musk had a net worth of $151 billion in April when Forbes released its 2021 list of the richest people in the world.

SpaceX already has a major presence in Texas in Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville, about 350 miles south of Austin on the border with Mexico in Cameron County. Musk announced plans in March to donate up to $30 million to entities in Cameron County, and several local school districts and charter schools said they received donations in April from the Musk Foundation.

SpaceX recently won a $2.89 billion contract with NASA to develop the first commercial vehicle to take people to the moon.

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Sairam is an experienced multifamily deal sponsor and asset manager for 738 units, a key principal in 332 units and limited partner in 1000 units. He has a strong experience in asset management, property reposition, income generation, implementing operational efficiencies and cost reduction. Sairam is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the state of Texas. He is a successful IT Consultant with 20+ years of experience in corporate America.