What Elon Musk and his tunneling company are up to in Bastrop County just east of Austin is beginning to come into focus.
Since the Austin Business Journal first reported in July 2021 that an entity tied to The Boring Company had purchased 73 acres of land in the county east of Austin, the company — which promises to ease traffic with its tunnels — has been working both publicly and privately to obtain permits from the county. Construction equipment and structures have now emerged on site.
A tent-like structure and equipment was visible from the road when a reporter visited the site on Feb. 21, while the sound of construction was prevalent.
Now, representatives from The Boring Co. are seeking approval from the Bastrop County Commissioners Court for a new permit to build an 80,000-square-foot warehouse and manufacturing facility at 130 Walker Watson Rd., according to documents posted ahead of the Feb. 28 meeting.
While there are few details about what will be manufactured and stored on-site, a site plan included in the documents shows that the warehouse would be located at the center of the property. It would also connect to a parking lot with hundreds of parking spaces, a loading dock and a pavement connection to a road that exits onto FM 1209.
The Boring Co. has already submitted a site and drainage plan, which were approved and didn’t identify any issues. The company also received a letter from the local Emergency Services District and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative Inc., which wrote that its willing to provide electricity service to the site, according to the documents.
What the company has not received is a commitment for water and wastewater services, so the permit is conditional to begin construction, with water and service being required prior to the occupation and use of the facility, according to the documents.
The company’s intentions at the site have remained unclear since the ABJ found property records filed with Bastrop County that revealed Gapped Bass LLC purchased 73 acres in May in northwest Bastrop. Gapped Bass is tied to top executives at The Boring Co., as well as the company’s Pflugerville address.
Documents recently obtained by ABJ show the company has been approved for permits for commercial research and development at the site. Approved plans also include 10 multi-family structures totaling 13,330 square feet, with 30 bedrooms, 20 bathrooms and 10 kitchens, as well as a basketball court. The residences are planned for the southeast of the property, with septic tanks planned on site, according to documents.
Representatives from The Boring Co. did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Job postings for Central Texas have outlined that the Bastrop site could be used to develop a tunneling technology called “Prufrock.”
Prufrock is a machine designed by The Boring Co. to “porpoise,” meaning it launches from the surface, mines underground and re-emerges once it’s finished, according to past ABJ reporting. It’s designed to tunnel faster than one mile per week, which is six times faster than the company’s previous machinery. The medium-term goal is to increase that to seven miles per day, according to its website.
The Bastrop plans mark the latest apparent development for Musk in the Austin area. The Austin Business Journal recently detailed apparent plans for an $11 million, 220,000-square-foot warehouse on land across from the Tesla Inc. gigafactory in eastern Travis County.
This also comes on the heels of Boring Co.’s plans to build an underground loop around North Miami Beach, according to Bloomberg. A plan submitted to the city shows the project could take less than 36 months and cost $185 million to $220 million, based on current prices, the outlet reported.
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