Austin to open 107 acres for manufacturing development, could create more than 1,000 jobs

Jul 2, 2014
Austin Business Journal

The city of Austin said Tuesday it will invest $3 million and release 107 city-owned acres near the airport to private manufacturers in an effort to jump-start the industry in the area

The goal is to to use low-cost, long-term leases and access to shipping corridors and recycled materials to attract manufacturers that work with recycled or reused materials to land near a former city landfill. If all goes to plan, the effort is projected to drive more than $30 million in private sector development and create as many as 1,250 jobs, while also helping Austin to recycle more, according to the city

The deal will rely on a $1 million federal grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration and $2 million in matching funds from Austin. The money will be used to build infrastructure out to the site, which includes lots from two to 20 acres in size just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and west of State Highway 130. City Council is expected to approve its side of the funding in August

In total, the city would spend about $10 million on readying the site, which is expected to pay for itself over 20 to 25 years through lease revenue from site tenants. The $10 million will pay for roads, lighting, drainage, storm water management as well as the water and wastewater infrastructure, a city spokeswoman said in a statement

The city expects to open the 107 acres to a competitive development process later this year, and the first businesses could break ground in early 2015. More information on the so-called "remanufacturing" park is available here

Kevin Johns, director of the city's economic growth and redevelopment office, said that a few green-manufacturing businesses were interested in finding financing in the Austin area. Natalie Betts, the city's recycling economic development liaison, echoed Johns

The city's economic development officials also stressed that the manufacturing jobs would provide good employment for those in Austin with less education. Austin has been pushing to attract manufacturers and other easily accessible jobs to the area in order to reduce poverty

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