Companies with ties to Samsung snag big pieces of ‘unicorn’ industrial site in Taylor

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Apr 4th, 2024

Billions of dollars of investment, hundreds of jobs are possible at the logistics park

For more than a half-decade, what’s been called a “unicorn” in the Central Texas industrial ecosystem has been poised to boom. Now, the 750-acre RCR Taylor Logistics Park is living up to that potential.

Over the last several months, three companies tied to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. — headlined by one of its biggest suppliers — have completed the purchase of more than 100 acres in the park, which is located along a highly desirable stretch of highway in Williamson County. They appear primed to join existing companies in the park that could generate billions of dollars in capital investment and hundreds of jobs to Taylor, where Samsung’s next-generation chipmaking facility is expected to start coming online this year.

While the exact size and scope of the new projects remains to be seen, the companies will join Texas Materials Inc., which is building materials plants, and Houston-based Partners Real Estate, which has purchased multiple lots and is putting the finishing touches on its first 366,000-square-foot speculative industrial building in the park. Tesla Inc. is also using the site’s auto ramp to ship cars after they’re completed at the automaker’s eastern Travis County factory.

Sharon Beach, a founding partner of Hempstead-based McAlister Assets LLC and team member of RCR Rail Park Development Co., the developer of the site, declined to comment on specifics, saying the various projects are out of her company’s purview once the land for them is sold. But she voiced excitement about the new additions to the park she described as a “unicorn” in the industrial market because of the multiple logistics options it features. The industrial park is sandwiched between Samsung’s new factory and the Hutto Megasite along U.S. Route 79.

“We know the financial impact is going to be huge, but we don’t have numbers to support that at this time,” Beach said. “We just know that we will never have another rail park like Taylor.”

The biggest new name is South Korea-based Soulbrain Holdings Co. Ltd. The company purchased about 85 acres in the park in December, according to Williamson County property records. The chemicals company is a key Samsung supplier, and it has been looking for space to serve Samsung’s new Taylor outpost after merging last year with DNF Co., another key Samsung supplier, to reinforce its semiconductor business. As of 2023, Samsung was the second-biggest stakeholder in DNF.

The Taylor Economic Development Corp. in January moved to approve an incentives agreement with Soulbrain, “having found the project suitable for infrastructure necessary to promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises,” according to public meeting minutes. Specific details about the size and scope of the project are expected to be disclosed in the next few weeks when the agreement comes before City Council — some observers expect the investment to be well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Two other logistics companies that operate in both Korea and the United States — HTNS America Inc. and ENC Inc. — also are tied to the purchase of more than 24 acres in the park. Both companies have ties to Samsung, and the latter has worked for Austin mainstays Samsung Austin Semiconductor and Applied Materials Inc. in the past. HTNS purchased about 12 acres in the park in February, while ENC purchased about 15 acres in December.

Officials with the companies didn’t respond to requests for comment, and a representative from the Taylor EDC declined to comment.

The land purchases mark the latest developments for the park. McAlister Assets LLC purchased the land in 2018 to bring a dual-rail served industrial facility to the city about 30 miles northeast of Austin and started construction during the pandemic.

McAlister officials expect the site to bring another billion dollars of investment to the area north of Austin. RCR has been open for two years, including the auto ramp that’s one of the few private facilities of its type in the country and is being used by Tesla to ship cars. Materials like pipe, lumber, cement and fly ash come through the BSNF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad lines. McAlister’s development team has pumped $36 million into infrastructure improvements — part of its planned $100 million commitment to the site.

The RCR site includes about 18 lots for end users. Beach said about five parcels of land remain that are for sale and not under contract, totaling about 125 rail-served acres. The company has also added a pair of executives:Cody Poteat as vice president of RCR Rail Co. after a stint at Union Pacific, and Julie Ward as land development vice president. PSC Group LLC is also handling daily park operations.

Carter Perrin, partner and managing director of development at Partners, previously said the company was interested in the Taylor site prior to the Samsung announcement because it offered rail. The addition of big companies in the area has left Partners “thankful” for the spot it is in, Perrin said.

The real estate company initially purchased 53 acres at the park and added about 20 acres that can accommodate rail-served space. It also has another site under contract, of an undisclosed size, that’s expected to close by the middle of this year, Perrin said. Partners’ initial speculative building only used about 20 acres, and the company hasn’t disclosed any tenants yet or its plans for its other spaces.

“(Samsung and Tesla) really just legitimized the market from a manufacturing base,” Perrin said. “We expect that there’s going to be more multinational manufacturers that are going to be showing up in very short order in similar and additional industries.”

It is part of the continued wave of companies looking to be in proximity to Samsung’s Taylor factory before it starts initial production this year. The factory created roughly 8,900 direct construction jobs and 9,264 indirect jobs last year, according to Samsung. That resulted in $11.6 billion pumped into the local economy and roughly $672 million in salaries, the company’s recently released economic impact report stated. The company previously has said it will create an estimated 1,800 permanent jobs over the first 10 years of operations, with initial average annual salaries of $75,168, although the report notes that it will create 2,000 jobs.

Some officials have predicted that hundreds of companies are likely to follow Samsung to the region to support the Taylor facility.

Companies that already are expanding in the region include Wonik Materials North America LLC in Manor; MSS International, a supplier of gas and piping systems to Samsung, in Round Rock; Hanyang Eng USA Inc. in Cedar Park; LS Electric Co. Ltd., which has purchased a big building in Bastrop; KoMiCo Technology Inc., a semiconductor equipment parts company in Round Rock; and MGC Pure Chemicals America Inc. in Killeen.

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