FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The Fort Worth City Council approved a $440 million incentive package in an all-out push to convince electric vehicle company Rivian to choose the city for its new manufacturing plant.
The payoff would be a 12-million square foot plant on 2,000 acres of land near the Interstate 20/I-30 split, where as many as 7,500 people could work.
The potential $5 billion deal is not done yet, with economic development officials saying at least one other city and state is making an aggressive push, but Fort Worth is a finalist.
"It would represent one of the largest projects in our state's history," said Lisa McMillan, the Economic Development Coordinator for Tarrant County, when presenting the plan to commissioners Tuesday, August 17.
Rivian hasn't started delivering its pickups and SUV's to customers yet, with the first orders pushed back to September.
Building a pickup though in Texas, makes sense, according to SMU economist Bud Weinstein.
"The real challenge is whether Texans and other people who love pickup trucks, will switch, from gasoline and diesel to electric," he said. "That remains to be seen."
The Texas business environment and reputation as a high-tech center could also entice the company, Weinstein said.
It doesn't hurt to have Tesla building in Austin, and Toyota with headquarters in Plano.
There can be talent movement between companies he said, and it naturally attracts additional business.
"A lot of their suppliers and vendors have followed the and set up offices here and in some cases even manufacturing plants," he said, referencing the Toyota relocation.
Presentations in Fort Worth and Tarrant County show the initial construction could be completed by the end of 2024, with as many as 1,875 people working by the next summer.
The full build out would take until 2027.
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