SpaceX continues to expand its property investments in Cameron County amid a commitment of $15 million from the state, and other legislation aimed at luring the space exploration firm to Texas.
The firm now owns eight lots in Cameron County. The most recent purchases were made in May, the Valley Morning Star found.
“That’s music to my ears,” state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. said Thursday of continuing land purchases by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX.
“I’m happy to know that SpaceX is purchasing property if they are trying to finalize the location where the operations will take place,” the senator added.
State Rep. Rene Oliveira said, “SpaceX has been taking steps to position the company in Cameron County for some time now. It’s a serious statement about the viability of our location for commercial space launch activity.”
SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment on the continuing developments.
Those include an extension from early May to June 24 for public comment to the environmental impact statement that the Federal Aviation Administration is preparing in analyzing the potential effects of SpaceX’s proposal to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles and a variety of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles from a site here.
The California-based space exploration firm that entrepreneur Elon Musk leads is considering a location near Boca Chica Beach for a rocket launch facility. The potential site is located off State Highway 4 about a quarter-mile from Boca Chica Beach and about 3 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The site is about 5 miles south of Port Isabel and South Padre Island.
Sites in Florida, Puerto Rico and Georgia also are being considered.
Continuing land purchases tell Lucio that Cameron County continues to be the lead contender.
Besides property that SpaceX is said to have placed options on, the firm in late May — through SpaceX’s director of business affairs in care of Dogleg Park LLC — purchased three more lots in the Spanish Dagger Subdivision, the Valley Morning Star found.
This brings the firm’s ownership to eight lots in the subdivision that is located on the southwest side of Laguna Madre Beach Subdivision, west of Highway 4.
One of the lots that was recently purchased from Cameron County measures 0.3478 of an acre and is valued at $2,470, while the second lot measures 0.3444 of an acre and is valued at $2,450. The lots were deeded by Cameron County to SpaceX representatives May 22.
SpaceX also purchased a third lot measuring 0.3692 of an acre from Providencia Holdings, LLC, which recently purchased a stream of lots in the area, on May 28, public records show.
The purchase by SpaceX of properties in Cameron County began in June last year, the Star found.
“The money is waiting for them,” Lucio said of the $15 million included in the state budget contingent on certification by the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office that SpaceX has committed to locating its facilities at a spaceport in this state.
“We’re on the right track, and I am confident that Brownsville is the front runner,” the senator said, adding, “now we’re heading to the finish line.”
Oliveira said that, “the Legislature appropriated a significant sum of money this session to bring the company here. SpaceX and the state have both demonstrated that they are serious about growing the space industry in Texas.”