At some point in the future, some employees working at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada would be able to simply walk or bike to their homes after a shift at the massive facility. Tesla is looking to expand Gigafactory 1, with Elon Musk recently stating during a conversation with NV Gov. Brian Sandoval that he envisions the company to hire more than 20,000 people for the factory. To help house this upcoming influx of workers, Musk noted that Tesla is looking to create an on-site housing compound in Gigafactory 1’s premises.
Tesla’s NV Gigafactory is less than 30% complete, but it already employs roughly 7,000 people. During a technology and innovation summit held at the factory on Tuesday, Elon Musk stated that in order for Gigafactory 1 to hit its target number of employees, the area needs to offer more infrastructure, such as schools, buildings, roads, and affordable housing. As a way to address the need for more housing units for Gigafactory 1’s future workers, Musk noted that Tesla is considering a project that involves building a housing compound for its employees.
“The biggest constraint on growth here is housing and infrastructure. We’re looking at creating a housing compound on site at the Gigafactory, using kind of high-quality mobile homes,” Musk stated.
Nevada’s real estate market was affected by the arrival of Gigafactory 1. The state of Nevada took a blow during the housing crash and recession, and by 2010, the state had a 14% unemployment rate, with more than 175,000 Nevada residents being unemployed. When Brian Sandoval became governor after winning the 2010 race, Nevada was ranked as one of the worst states in terms of bankruptcies and home foreclosures. To push the state’s recovery, Sandoval worked to attract tech companies to set up shop in the state. One of these companies was Tesla, which chose Nevada as the site for its Gigafactory 1.
Gigafactory 1 is located about 25 miles east of Reno, NV. For now, many of the facility’s employees live in Reno, as well as several surrounding cities linked to the battery factory via I-80 and the newly-completed Hwy 50, such as Carson City, Fernley, and Sparks. Real-estate prices in areas around Gigafactory 1 have risen over the past years. In Reno alone, the average monthly rent is now $1,318 per month, a 58% increase over rental rates six years ago. In the Reno/Sparks area, median home prices recently hit an all-time high, reaching $389,000 in July. Considering Musk’s new guidance, Gigafactory 1’s employees would almost triple once the facility is complete. Thus, there is definitely a need for practical, affordable housing around the facility.
It remains to be seen what type of housing Tesla would introduce for Gigafactory 1’s employees. That said, the housing initiative does go in line with some ideas that Elon Musk recently expressed. During his now-infamous podcast with Joe Rogan, for one, Musk teased the concept of a smart home with a more efficient air conditioning system. Musk’s side venture, The Boring Company, has also developed the Boring Bricks, which are designed as a cost-effective way to construct homes. Considering Elon Musk’s penchant for the creative, there is a good chance that Tesla’s on-site housing compound at Gigafactory 1 might feature some notable elements as well.
The concept of the mill towns, or settlements that are built around factories, have been around since the late 1800’s. In recent years, some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies have explored a rather similar concept. Last year, for example, Google and Facebook issued a proposal to build self-contained towns near their respective headquarters. These towns would feature amenities such as their own grocery stores, shops, cafes, movie theaters, gyms, and hundreds of apartments that can accommodate the companies’ expanding employee base. If Elon Musk’s words would prove to be true, it might only be a matter of time before a sort of “Tesla town” emerges just outside of Reno, Nevada.