Comment Remember Elon Musk’s “extremely hardcore” edict for staff who hoped to stay on at Twitter after his takeover? To some, this extended to sleeping on the office floor – and even then it didn’t save their jobs.
Now imagine a town or city built exclusively for the employees of other Musk-owned companies – Boring, SpaceX, Tesla – boasting below-market rent on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Y’know, kinda like the model villages and company towns of old and also new.
Welcome to Muskville: where the workers never leave, because work is home!
According to the Wall Street Journal, which has done some serious digging in Bastrop County, where Musk-affiliated entities have been grabbing thousands of acres of land, Musk’s vision for the territories along the Colorado River has been described as a “Texas utopia.”
All purchased parcels of land lie adjacent to either Tesla’s Texas Giga premises or Space X and Boring Co. warehouses, where the latter is said to have built “at least two test tunnels.”
Signs hanging around the Boring site read “welcome, snailbrook, tx, est. 2021” – apparently a reference to the company’s mascot because Musk once said Boring’s aim was to bore tunnels faster than a snail can move. The WSJ says the site already features “a group of modular homes, a pool, an outdoor sports area and a gym.”
So the intent of township is already there, and Musk’s ambitions to build one reportedly stretches back years. The WSJ states: “Mr Musk has long envisioned building a town, and a couple of years ago helped his brother, Kimbal Musk, refine an idea to build an off-the-grid community.”
According to people at an all-hands Boring meeting last year, president Steve Davis told employees they would hold an election for mayor of Snailbrook. Musk is also said to have discussed what his vision of a town would look like with former girlfriend Grimes, Kanye West (yikes), and West’s architectural designer.
But what of planning? Musk has made no secret of his reasons for decamping to Texas, once describing California as the land of “overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation.” The Journal cites instances where he made overtures to Austin officials, like former mayor Steve Adler, from whom Musk “sought assurances” that “government bureaucracy wouldn’t stand in the way of his many projects.”
“What he wanted from the city was speed,” Adler said.
- Musk said Twitter would open source its algorithm – then fired the people who could
- US officials probe Tesla’s incredible detaching steering wheel
- Europe, America fear Twitter job cuts mean it can’t protect users
- Ex-Tweep mocked by Musk for asking if he’d actually been fired
Moving fast and keeping a low profile appears to be how Elon plans to build Muskville. But neighbors have been watching with a wary eye. Chap Ambrose, whose home overlooks the Boring and SpaceX facilities, said: “They want it to be secret. They want to do things before anyone knows really what’s happening.” He also has concerns about how Boring’s research and tunneling might affect the area’s groundwater aquifers.
Another neighbor, David Barrow, who runs a farm for his two restaurants, claimed: “There’s no transparency.” Referencing a Boring application to discharge up to 140,000 gallons of industrial wastewater a day into the river, he said: “I would like to know what is actually being sprayed, what they’re actually building, and who is going to hold them accountable.”
The early stages of this apparent town are being handled by an entity called Gapped Bass LLC, headed up by Boring’s Davis. The company has bought 200 acres in Bastrop County, with SpaceX snatching 60 more. Officials have been told that Musk owns even more land in the area personally – some 6,000 acres. “Gapped Bass has filed paperwork with Bastrop County to build 110 more homes in the planned town, which it calls ‘Project Amazing,’ the WSJ reported.
There are even approved street names like “Boring Boulevard,” “Waterjet Way” and “Cutterhead Crossing.” Plans are also afoot to site a Montessori school with capacity for 15 students in the town.
According to an ad pitched at Boring employees, they are able to apply for a two to three-bedroom home with rents starting at $800 a month. The median rent in the county is said to be $2,200. If an employee quits their job or is fired, they would have 30 days to vacate the premises.
We’ll see how this clandestine project unfolds over the coming years, though Musk has a way of getting what he wants, with no concern for others. “Texas utopia” this ain’t. Not only does your boss own the majority of your waking hours, but he also owns your home?
There’s a word for that: dystopia. We can see the Musk thought police kicking doors down and evicting any employee who dared to question the man, considering how he handled Twitter. On that point, maybe Muskville would serve better as a commune for his legions of sycophants on the platform, keeping them safely contained from the rest of rational society. ®