💰How much of Austin does Elon Musk own?
- 6 min read

💰How much of Austin does Elon Musk own?

Plus, the most expensive Austin Airbnb listed during SXSW.

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Introduction

☁️ Hey there, Austin.

Raise your hand if you're going to happy hour later? Same, but heads up: sit inside 'cause it'll be stormy.

Today, we're breaking down the major Musk-owned square footage in Austin and who did the deals on his behalf.

Then, three things to watch from City Hall this week and the most expensive Airbnb available during SXSW.


Austin a.k.a. Elon Musk's playground

The pandemic, obviously, brought a lot of change to Austinites’ lives. We reckoned with germs, grappled with loneliness, learned how to make sourdough bread (I still can’t get it right.)

It also brought Elon Musk straight to Austin’s doorstep.

In 2020, the guy not only announced he was moving to Texas (citing a distaste for California’s “over-taxation” and “overregulation”) — he started buying up land like squares in Chicken Shit Bingo. 

Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink. Below, we break down where and when each has set up shop in Austin over the past 4 years.

Our roundup includes sourcing from public records and local media and may not include Musk properties that haven’t yet come to public light.

The total: 167 million square feet of factories, office space, undeveloped acreage and more.

And that’s just in the Austin metro area.

Austin Daily
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We only looked at properties within 30 miles of the Austin metro area. Musk's companies own additional land throughout Texas, including in Boca Chica, Corpus Christi, Waco, and others.

Like it or not, Musk has embedded himself in the city and is now an inextricable part of it and its growth, thanks to his companies’ pipeline of talent.

Translation: He’s a big part of why everyone and their cousin is moving here.

Musk's many men

Like the mega-rich often do, Musk used a handful of entities to make his purchases:

  1. River Bottoms Ranch LLC

In 2021, River Bottoms Ranch bought 37 acres in Del Valle and filed plans for eight Neuralink offices and labs, including a 78,000-square foot building filings show. The man listed as the manager for this group at the time of the filings was also a project manager for Neuralink. 

  1. Horse Ranch LLC

Horse Ranch filed plans for a 220,000-square-foot warehouse in Del Valle in February 2022. The entity also owns at least 530 acres next to Tesla’s gigafactory, per Travis County records. The listed manager of the entity (Jared Birchall) is the CEO of Neuralink and manages Musk’s family office.

  1. Gapped Bass LLC

This group’s been a busy bee since 2020. In December of that year, it filed plans for a 40,000-square-foot facility in Pflugerville, where The Boring Company’s HQ has been based since 2022.

A Google Maps screenshot from 2022 shows the building at 15709 Impact Way.

It’s also behind plans for an 80,000-square-foot Boring Co. warehouse in Bastrop as part of a 73-acre purchase made in mid-2021. 

And in January 2022, the group filed plans — codename “Project Amazing” — for a 110-home neighborhood in Bastrop that would house Musk’s employees. It’s been reportedly dubbed “Snailbrook,” named after Boring Co.’s mascot.

In total, Gapped Bass owns 250 acres along FM 1209, where Snailbrook is located, county records show. 

Until last year, the registered agent listed for Gapped Bass was Boring Co.’s corporate controller (he’s since left). At the time, president Steve Davis was also listed as a manager. Now, it’s Arun Prakash, Boring Co. CFO.

Bastrop County
  1. Colorado River Project LLC

Musk used this LLC to purchase land to build the biggie in 2020: The 10 million-square-foot Giga Texas factory, where Tesla manufactures its electric vehicles.

The entity also owns around 2,500 acres next to the factory. 😲

So what can we expect from Musk in years to come?


More likely than not: More development, more private jetting in and out of Central Texas, and more of his companies’ employees moving their families to Austin and its suburbs.

Maybe he’ll finally buy a home here at some point too? Who knows. 

And at which point, where will he get his breakfast tacos?

— Katie Canales, Editor


Temperature: 76 degrees | Sun: Behind clouds | What to Expect: Strong storms

It’s severe weather season in Central Texas and we might get our first event this evening and into early Friday. The combination of a Pacific front and a dry line, which separates dry and humid air, will be the focal point and we’ll need to keep an eye out for possible large hail, high winds and heavy rain.

Mary’s Tip: Clear out the garage to make room for your car this month. March is known for some major hailstorms in Austin.


3 things to watch for at City Hall this week

It's that time of the week again: City Council meets today at 10 a.m. You can find the full agenda here. These are the three things that caught our eye.

  • Make lawn care green again. Did you know that in 2020, gas-powered lawn equipment in the U.S. released 21,800 tons of fine particulate matter? That’s basically the annual equivalent of pollution from 234 million cars. To help curb that, the city wants to offer residents and small businesses a rebate for electric or manual equipment when they turn in or properly dispose of their gas-powered machines.
  • Work, work, work, work, workforce development. Mayor Kirk Watson is pushing to create a workforce development program, citing the enormous needs that current and upcoming projects will require — think Project Connect, the Austin airport expansion and others. According to the city, those projects will require 10,000 new skilled infrastructure workers every year for the next 17 years. 
  • Save Austin’s water. A number of items on the Council agenda today have to do with expanding and improving Austin’s water reuse programs. One item would expand requirements for new developments to connect to Austin Water’s reuse system (basically the city's "stillsuit" for my Dune nerds), as well as implement onsite water reuse systems. Another would implement a new $0.15 per-thousand-gallons fee to water utility bills to fund the GoPurple Program, which will offer cost-sharing, grants, incentives and other measures to support the city’s Water Forward Plan.

A $90K stay for SXSW, anyone?

Just for pure, unadulterated, indulgent fun, we slid our price filter aaaaall the way to the right on Airbnb to see how the other half might stay during SXSW.

The most expensive rental available for the full nine nights came in at just over $7,500 a night, or about $90K total, after taxes.

The humble home near Rollingwood is suitable for 16+ guests and features 6 bedrooms and a resort-style pool. The listing also comes with free breakfast delivery, concierge planning and a 24/7 "house manager" who is at your beck and call.

Managed by Above Vacation Residences, The Pinnacle Estate (of course it has a name) is billed as "a favorite home for executives, families and VIP guests."

Airbnb screenshot of the most expensive Austin listings during SXSW, as of March 5.

— Randi Stevenson, Managing Editor


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura, Mary Wasson and Randi Stevenson.