Editors note: This story has been updated to reflect that Toyota purchased additional land surrounding its factory in 2003 for its suppliers.
BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — KXAN reported Thursday that Lennar Corp., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, appears to have teamed up with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build a 110-home subdivision off FM 1209 near FM 969.
If the company did, in fact, team up with home developers to create housing in Bastrop County for its Central Texas Workforce, Adam Perdue, Economist at the Texas Real Estate Research Center, called it a rare move, however, that Toyota did something similar 20 years ago.
When Toyota announced it was building a manufacturing plant in San Antonio in 2003, it bought enough land for suppliers to relocate with the automobile company.
“It’s not really necessarily a very bad idea when you know that you are coming in with a large manufacturing plant, you can be pretty confident that you’re going to be increasing the demand for land in that neighborhood,” Perdue said. “It can be worthwhile to buy some extra land and then sell it after the fact. If that’s what is going on right now.”
Perdue said that regardless of whether this was The Boring Company’s intention to develop homes for its workers, the land in Bastrop would likely be developed anyway because it is a hot real estate market.
Musk’s companies, including Space X and the Boring Company, already have several structures, including a large warehouse, in the Bastrop area. Perdue said when the Toyota manufacturer plant went into San Antonio, asking prices for properties increased around the region.
Perdue said, The Boring Company could have partnered with Lennar Corp. to create the subdivision as an investment and later sell it once values rise higher. He said he is not aware of another company in Texas having purchased land for it to be developed into homes for a company’s workforce.
Regardless of what they end up doing with the land, Perdue said it does not look like Musk or The Boring Company is creating a “company town. “
“Through the late 1800s, and early 1900s, you often had company towns where there would be a large factory that would draw population, but then the company would also own the houses and rent them to the workers,” he said. “That history was problematic in that with that one company owning everything, they often use that to abuse their workers.”
“As far as I can tell, we don’t have to worry about that here,” Perdue said