Elon Musk has plans to build his own ‘utopian city’ for workers near his SpaceX and Boring sites, where he can control his own projects outside of Austin.
Top brass at Boring Co., Musk’s tunneling operation, have discussed incorporating their own town called Snailbrook in Bastrop County, about 35 miles from the Texas capital.
Musk could not only provide cheap housing for his employees ($800 a month for a three-bedroom house), but allow the mogul to set regulations and help grease the wheels for his ambitious construction projects.
Its Austin-area employees, which include staff at Boring, electric car maker Tesla and its space exploration firm, SpaceX, would ideally live in the new homes located on thousands of acres of farmland along the Colorado River.
Musk, his ex-girlfriend Grimes, Kanye West and the rapper’s architect have had multiple discussions over the past year about the design of the city, sources told T.The Wall Street Journal.
Elon Musk has plans to build his own ‘utopian city’ for workers near his SpaceX and Boring sites where he can control his own projects outside of Austin.
It is said to be a map of the construction project Musk is planning for his workers in Austin. Documents filed in Bastrop County Commissioners Court show plans to build 110 more homes
The site of Musk’s company developments in Bastrop County in 2021
The talks were general and included some mock-ups, but have not yet resulted in finalized plans, a person familiar with the discussions told the newspaper.
Bastrop County has yet to receive any applications from Musk to incorporate the city. This would require at least 201 residents and the approval of a county judge.
Musk opened his new Tesla factory called Giga Texas in April of last year. The sprawling plant that stretches across 2,500 acres in Travis County, outside of Austin, is billed as the manufacturing center for the Model Y and the future home of the Cybertruck.
In neighboring Bastrop County, his Boring tunneling company is building a new warehouse, while SpaceX is building a 12-acre facility. Snailbrook’s proposed ‘utopia’ for his employees is just half a mile up the road.
Snailbrook takes its name from Boring’s mascot, a snail named Gary, a reference to the SpongeBob cartoon character of the same name.
Photos uploaded to Facebook by locals show hanging signs reading: ‘Welcome. Snailbrook, TX, est. 2021.’
The site already includes several mobile homes, a swimming pool, an outdoor recreation area and a gym.
A general view of the Tesla factory in Austin, Texas
Median monthly rent in Bastrop County is around $2,200, but Musk wants to offer his employees the chance to live there for just a fraction of that price.
Local farmers have raised concerns about how the vast plans would affect the land, particularly with regard to Boring’s tunneling operation, which may affect the aquifers that supply the region’s wells.
Boring, founded in 2016, has ongoing and proposed projects designed for intra-city ‘loop’ transit systems to provide high-speed, all-electric, zero-emissions underground public transportation.
The only operational tunnel is a 1.7-mile stretch through the Las Vegas Convention Center that transports attendees on limited days during events using Tesla cars.
Boring recently submitted an application to pump up to 140,000 gallons of industrial wastewater a day into the Colorado River.
David Barrow, who runs Eden Barrow East Farm on Bastrop’s North Main Street, told the Journal: “I’d like to know what is actually being sprayed, what are they actually building, and who will hold them accountable.”
He said there had been no ‘transparency’.
Over the past three years, legal entities linked to Musk or his companies have purchased about 3,500 acres of land in the Austin area, records show.
Cars are seen on the assembly line during a tour of the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility ahead of the ‘Cyber Rodeo’ grand opening party on April 7, 2022 in Austin, Texas
Local officials told the Journal they have heard that the billionaire actually owns north of 6,000 acres in the region, more than seven times the size of Central Park in New York.
Musk resigned from Silicon Valley two years ago after losing patience with California’s strict regulations, including planning permits and tax laws.
He called his former home the land of ‘over regulation, over litigation, over tax’, in December 2021.
Unlike California, Texas has fewer zoning laws, environmental and labor requirements, and thousands of acres of poorly regulated farmland.
The Lone Star State also has no corporate income tax or lien on personal income or capital gains.
The Texas land purchases have been made by at least four limited liability companies linked to Musk’s businesses or executives, the documents show.
They include plans for a private residence for Musk located away from the main site for his workers, sources told the Journal.
Musk has personally approved each land acquisition, people familiar with the operation said.
Chap Ambrose, a computer programmer who lives on top of a hill overlooking the new Boring and SpaceX facilities, told the Journal that “they want it to be a secret.” They want to get things done before anyone really knows what’s going on.
Musk has previously floated the idea of providing affordable housing for his employees in purpose-built communities.
In 2018, during a public panel with the then governor. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, the mogul said he would like to build housing for Tesla workers next to his huge site outside of Reno.
Two years later, he tweeted about the construction of “the city of Starbase” in Boca Chica Village, Texas, where SpaceX works in the Gulf of Mexico.
Musk has said he lives in a $50,000 house in Boca Chica that he rents from SpaceX.
However, reports say that his primary residence is actually a friend’s mansion in Austin.