DEL VALLE, Texas (Austin Business Journal) — Tesla Inc. is moving at a rapid pace on its new gigafactory in far East Austin. For weeks, construction crews have been moving dirt at the 2,100-acre site off State Highway 130 for the electric carmaker’s next manufacturing plant, which sources say Tesla expects to open as soon as May 1 next year. It’s a massive undertaking with up to 5 million square feet planned and many construction jobs still left to fill.

Work even began on the plant site before Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially announced July 22 that Austin would be home to the next gigafactory. Travis County Public Information Officer Hector Nieto said that was because Tesla inherited permits when it purchased the land earlier this summer. Even with that head start, local real estate experts say Tesla’s timeline is very accelerated.

“For a project of that size to be open by next year would be extremely impressive. It’s fast,” said Sam Owen, senior vice president of Stream Realty Partners’ industrial division in Austin. “In comparison to traditional tilt-wall warehouse development, the timeline is impressive and very quick … just a standard project would take that long.”

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