- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

WACO, Texas (AP) - Waco city officials are poised to vote on giving the SpaceX rocket-making plant in McGregor up to $1.5 million in economic development money.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., based in Hawthorne, California, has plans to spend about $46 million on an expansion that would create 300 new full-time jobs.

City Council members will vote on the development money Tuesday. McLennan County commissioners are to vote later this month on providing an additional $1.5 million in economic development funds, bringing the total from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp to $3 million, the Waco Herald-Tribune (https://bit.ly/130VvdQ ) reported.

Most officials declined to discuss the company’s plan or the 300 anticipated jobs.

“I’m not at liberty to comment at this point,” Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce development official Kris Collins said. “I have to say the project is pending.”

Owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, SpaceX has become a major player in private rocketry by hauling supplies to the International Space Station and placing communications satellites in orbit.

SpaceX announced earlier this year that it had chosen a remote site near Brownsville called Boca Rica for its planned commercial rocket launch facility.

Since 2003, SpaceX has used land in McGregor’s industrial park for research and rocket testing. The company recently expanded its lease from 922 acres to 4,280 acres.

In a report prepared by the city, SpaceX is proposing to invest $46.3 million in the site during the next five years. There will be about $32.4 million in real property improvements and $13.9 million in personal property improvements.

The 300 new jobs will be added by Dec. 31, 2018, with employees receiving about $60,000 a year. To receive incentive money, the company must fill 240 positions with people living in McLennan County, and 120 must reside in Waco.

Those hired will include engineers, technicians and industry professionals, according to the city staff report prepared for Waco City Council.

The company will retain the 261 full-time staffers now in McGregor.


Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, https://www.wacotrib.com

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