November 28, 2021

 

 

Samsung selects Taylor

Lights of passing cars stream through historic downtown Taylor.

Cars make their way along Main Street in downtown Taylor on November 21. Samsung’s presence is expected to be a monumental boost for the city’s economy. Andy Sharp

 

Taylor nabs largest foreign investment in Texas history

 

Foiur people stand together.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Taylor ISD Superintendent Devin Padavil, City Manager Brian LaBorde, and Mayor Brant Rydell stand outside Samsung’s Austin facility. Photo courtesy of Bill Gravell

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Residents in Taylor enjoyed a very grateful Thanksgiving, as the small town in eastern Williamson County received official word Tuesday that Samsung will build its new microchip factory there.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the news at a press conference in Austin Tuesday evening. Mr. Abbott said the historic agreement between Taylor and Samsung would not only impact the state of Texas, but would have ramifications felt across the entire world.

“After a thorough and comprehensive search, Samsung has chosen Taylor, Texas, as the site of its new state of the art semiconductor chip fabrication plant,” he said. “This plant will produce the semiconductor chips that will power the technology that we use every single day.”

The facility will create more than 2,000 jobs, and will have an initial capital investment of $17 billion. This is the largest foreign direct investment in the State of Texas ever, Mr. Abbott said. 

“Samsung had many other options for this project. And I want you to know, Texas is grateful that you chose Texas for this project,” he told Samsung representatives and other officials gathered. 

Also in attendance Tuesday were Samsung executive Dr. Kinam Kim, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell and others. 

Dr. Kim said that Samsung is proud to bring more jobs,  support training and talent development in local communities as the company celebrates 25 years of making computer chips in Central Texas.

“Williamson County has again proven to be a leader in attracting the world’s top technology companies,” Mr. Gravell said. “To Samsung, I want to say ‘Welcome Home.’ 

“With the addition of Samsung on the east side of our county, Apple on the west side and Dell Technologies world headquarters in the center, Williamson County is now home to the technology superhighway of the world.”

Samsung Electronics proposed the new $17 billion, 6 million square-foot semiconductor facility earlier this year. 

Taylor competed fiercely with several locations around the U.S. and one in Samsung’s home country of South Korea, each offering incentives to win the plant. 

Combined tax incentives from the City of Taylor, Williamson County, and Taylor ISD could save the company more than an estimated $330 million in taxes during its first decade.

The facility in Taylor is a massive expansion of Samsung’s presence in Texas, which already has two semiconductor plants in Austin, Mr. Abbott said. 

“Samsung’s decision to locate its cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication plant in Taylor is the single most significant and consequential development for the local economy since the International & Great Northern Railroad laid tracks here in the 1870s,” Mr. Rydell said. 

He added that the City of Taylor is honored to have been selected by Samsung as the site for this critically important project.

“This will be the dynamo that drives Taylor to recapture past glory and exceed its early achievements,” Mr. Rydell said. “We look forward to a long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationship between our community and the company.”

Mr. Kim said Taylor was selected based on key factors, including incentive proposals, existing infrastructure capacity, the local talent pool and the prospect for the company to grow with the local community. 

“Texas has proven it can create an environment that lets businesses grow and thrive,” he said. 

The facility will hire more than 1,500 technical employees before beginning production of computer chips in the fourth quarter 2024. The company will have to complete the purchase of the land quickly to break ground for construction early next year, a company goal.

Welcoming the thousands of construction workers who will build the factory over the next 12 to 24 months will be given attention in the short term, said Tia Rae Stone, president and CEO of the Taylor Chamber of Commerce.

Building the factory will require more than 3,300 full time construction workers in 2022 and more than 8,200 in 2023, according to the electronics company’s tax incentive proposal to Taylor ISD.

“We want to welcome [workers] into our community and point them toward places to live and eat and recreation opportunities,” Ms. Stone said.

“The town has done so much in the last few years to get to the precipice of this new opportunity.  We have a comprehensive plan to maintain the feel of the town while it grows,” she added.

Longer term impacts of the new factory on the city and the future of its children will be transformative, said Taylor ISD Superintendent Devin Padavil.

“In addition to providing 24 paid internships per year for our students, the learning and career opportunities our students would gain would be significant. Our students would have the chance to pursue degrees that contribute to the technology industry or could choose the manufacturing industry, which is quickly proving to be the fastest growing job sector in Central Texas,” Mr. Padavil said.

Beyond construction workers and high school internships, the project would create more than 1,800 high paying, net-new jobs for the factory, the Samsung proposal reads. 

And then there are the suppliers, vendors and contractors who will also locate nearby, Ms. Stone noted, each bringing employees, materials and vehicles to the city.

“Getting the new Samsung factory will bring so much wealth and attention into Taylor,” Ms. Stone said.