Elon Musk has purchased thousands of acres of land outside Austin, Texas, for a small new city where his employees can live for below-market rent, The Wall Street Journal reports(Opens in a new window).
Austin-area rents have skyrocketed in recent years as the city has seen an influx of new residents and tech companies bringing high salaries. Musk has described his vision as a “utopia” along the Colorado River, according to the Journal. The site is already under construction, and it includes a pool, outdoor sports area, and a group of modular homes.
Eventually, it will include 110 homes plus a separate, private residential compound for Musk. One of the nation’s largest home builders, Lennar(Opens in a new window), is building the homes. The company refers to the work under the codename “Project Awesome,” the Austin Business Journal reports(Opens in a new window).
The Colorado River outside Austin, TX.
(Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images)
Musk has also reportedly sought design advice from Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, as well as West’s architectural designer. Musk’s ex-girlfriend and mother of two(Opens in a new window) of his 10 children, Claire Boucher, a DJ/musician known as Grimes, is also involved with planning, the Journal says.
Despite the high-profile creative collaborators, the town has a decidedly uncool name: Snailbrook. A sign hanging from a pole outside its borders reads, “welcome to snailbrook, tx, est. 2021.” So far, its streets have names such as “Boring Boulevard,” “Waterjet Way” and “Cutterhead Crossing,” according to county documents reviewed by the Journal.
The name is a reference to Gary the snail, a character in the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants. Gary is the mascot of Musk’s tunneling business, The Boring Company, as Musk has charged the company with creating machines that can tunnel faster than a snail.
Gary the snail sits on a throne at Boring Co. event in 2018, where Musk revealed the first completed test tunnel.
( Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images)
Snailbrook’s inhabitants will work at nearby facilities for Musk’s companies: The Boring Company, SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink. Tesla is already headquartered in Austin, and The Boring Company HQ is a 20-minute ride away in Pflugerville, Texas.
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Musk is quickly working to bring the rest of his companies to the Austin area. In the fall of 2022, Musk accelerated these plans by filing permits to build an additional facility(Opens in a new window) for The Boring Company close to the Tesla headquarters in Austin, a new campus(Opens in a new window) for Neuralink, and a new 520,000-square-foot SpaceX facility(Opens in a new window), located in Bastrop County, home of Snailbrook.
Location of Bastrop County outside Austin, TX.
(Credit: Bastrop County)
Discussions about formally incorporating Snailbrook as its own municipality in Bastrop County are ongoing, though the town would need at least 201 residents before applying for incorporation under Texas law. Incorporation would mean Musk could set regulations that could expedite his plans, according to the Journal.
The loose regulatory environment in Texas attracted Musk to the state. He moved the Tesla headquarters from California to Austin in 2021, slamming California as being the land of “overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation,” Reuters reports(Opens in a new window). Although, last month Musk unveiled plans for a new engineering HQ in California.
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