State Fight: SpaceX brings business to Brownsville, Texas

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, city officials in Brownsville, Texas, expected a double-digit reduction in sales and property taxes. To their surprise, the cost of residential real estate, sales tax collections and hotel tax revenues continue to rise.

Much credit goes to SpaceX. The rocket company in Hawthorne, California, is constantly increasing the amount of manpower on its adjacent site to launch the Starship and Super Heavy spacecraft. SpaceX began stepping up its activities on Boca Chicago in 2016.

“Since then, Brownsville has attracted the interest of a variety of industries and sectors that we thought would not be interested in our community,” said Josh Maggie, CEO of Brownsville Community Improvement Corp. “Things like new space technology, aerospace, technology companies. All these branches want to be next to the big fish in the pond ”.

In addition, people are moving from California and other parts of Texas to start a business in Brownsville.

“The growing presence of SpaceX has increased exponentially the entrepreneurial activity we have seen in our community,” Mehia said. “We’re talking about the consequences and benefits that we’ll probably only see in 10-15 years.”

Brownsville welcomes new companies, expanding broadband infrastructure and working with the state to prepare workers to meet the needs of new businesses. Brownsville Community Improvement Corp. also talks to venture capital companies about creating startup accelerator programs and encouraging the development of speculative buildings that can house manufacturing or assembly plants.

However, navigating all these changes in a short period of time creates problems for Brownsville.

“Like every great thing, there will always be some negativity associated with it,” Mejia said. “So many elements are changing so fast. They can have a positive outcome for the community or a negative outcome depending on how quickly you can turn around to meet the needs of the local economy. ”

This article originally appeared in February 2022 of SpaceNews magazine.

In this series State Fight: SpaceX brings business to Brownsville, Texas

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