AUSTIN (KXAN)– Samsung’s new chip manufacturing plant is still about a year away from its expected opening date, but the company is churning more than dirt in Taylor– it’s also churning the economic engine in the surrounding area.
“We do benefit tremendously from the proximity,” said Robert Farley, economic development director for the City of Hutto, located just a few minutes west of Taylor.
Farley said the city owns properties about four to five miles away from the new plant, and they’ve already had dozens of businesses knocking on their door wanting to be close to Samsung.
“There are so many things in the Samsung supply chain that don’t necessarily have to be on the primary site, they need to be close,” Farley explained. “That runs the gamut from anything from storage of various things, cleaning of equipment that’s used in the production facility, engineering services that are procured to help support various Samsung products.”
He expects Hutto could see a billion dollars a year in Samsung support projects.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
One company taking advantage of the Austin region’s growing tech sector is CharterUP, a charter bus booking platform.
The Atlanta-based company just launched in Austin and San Antonio.
“We’ve seen… a big migration of companies and corporations move into the Austin area,” said CEO Armir Harris.
The company is rolling out 160 buses in Austin in partnership with 16 local operators.
“We noticed that not only is there a shortage of buses, but the reason why there’s a shortage of buses is because there’s significant demand in the Austin area and innovation corridor,” Harris said.
Buses can fit up to 55 passengers and already shuttle Samsung Austin employees.
“Similar to our satellite office, we anticipate an employee shuttle to transport employees to our Taylor facility,” said Michele Glaze, Samsung spokesperson.
CharterUP said other entities have also already signed up for the service, like the University of Austin, H-E-B, and Austin Independent School District.
Harris said while he couldn’t disclose specific routes for each company, they are customized to fit their needs.
“So when corporations come up, they can set up their service to pick up passengers near their homes, within walking distance, door-to-door service, or we can provide on campus transportation,” he explained.
He plans to make Austin the company’s main hub and hire more employees here to offer more rides to even more groups in the area.
“Sports teams, schools, nonprofits, organizations, weddings, wine tours, you name it,” Harris said.