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Tesla Still Going Big On Texas, But State Will Have To Share HQ Bragging Rights With California

Tesla is planning two large developments in Texas, including one in the Houston area, despite moving its engineering headquarters back to California just days ago.


Tesla has broken ground on a proposed lithium refinery in Corpus Christi, officials announced Wednesday during the company’s investor day in Austin. That follows news the company filed documents in February with Brookshire, a city 6 miles west of Katy and 36 miles west of downtown Houston, for a large industrial facility, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The electronic vehicle manufacturer’s global headquarters moved to Tesla's Gigafactory outside Austin in 2021, following CEO Elon Musk’s expressed distaste of California’s pandemic restrictions. The move closed its San Francisco Bay Area production plant, Inside EVs reported. 

At the time, Musk cited additional space and a cheaper housing market as reasons for the move. He personally moved to Austin in 2020.

Then, last week, Musk stood alongside California Gov. Gavin Newsom to announce Tesla’s engineering headquarters was moving to the former Hewlett-Packard Co. headquarters in Palo Alto, California, not far from the company's old stomping grounds.

“This is a poetic transition,” Musk said, nodding to the fact Tesla was founded in Silicon Valley.

Musk did not specify when the move will happen and said the company's main headquarters would remain in Austin, though the California facility is also “effectively a headquarters of Tesla.”  

Tesla will be "kind of a dual-headquartered company," Musk told CNBC.

The company plans to continue investing in spaces in Texas, despite its renewed interest in California.

Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said the Corpus Christi lithium refinery should be in commission by the end of the year. The facility will refine and manufacture battery materials for Tesla’s supply chain, Teslarati reported.

Documents from Nueces County show Tesla plans to spend $375M on the facility, according to the article.

Tesla's Houston-area plans remain mysterious, but research reports from Cushman & Wakefield and Savills show it signed a lease for just over 1M SF at 111 Empire West, part of the 300-acre Empire West Business Park.

Brookshire issued a certificate of occupancy naming Tesla as the occupier of the building, and interim City Administrator Mike Barnes confirmed to the Chronicle that there has been communication with the company. 

“If that indeed comes to fruition, that will give us bragging rights," Barnes told the Chronicle. "A company of international renown like Tesla choosing Brookshire, Texas, really helps us diversify and enhances greater Houston's standing in the global marketplace.”

Tesla has made another investment in a small Houston-region city with a battery storage facility in Angleton.