AUSTIN (KXAN) — “One of America’s biggest boomtowns.”
That’s how Nightly News’ Lester Holt described Austin Monday night, as the NBC show broadcasted live from the Long Center.
Austin was showcased on a national stage for Nightly News’ “Across America” series, which aims to take an in-depth look at how the pandemic has affected different American cities.
A few aspects of Austin, including its booming tech scene, were highlighted for the special. Here’s a breakdown of what was covered.
Why families, tech companies are moving to Austin
It’s no secret tech companies and transplants from other states are flocking to Austin. Nightly News says a national survey showed the city is the most popular place to move during the pandemic.
One California couple whom Holt interviewed says they moved this year to spend more time with the kids, and so far, they’re happy with their decision.
Cost of living was definitely a common factor, Nightly News found. Another family who moved from out of state told Holt Austin is “much cheaper than California.”
But it’s not only the cheaper prices drawing others to the area. Another family says Texas laws and the way local leaders have handled pandemic closures caused them to move from New Orleans, where they say they were shut down for a year and a half.
Nightly News also highlighted Austin’s booming tech scene, pointing out a new Apple campus is on the way, a possible $17 billion Samsung plant could come to nearby Taylor, Texas and the cherry on top — Tesla is moving its headquarters from California to Austin.
KXAN’s own Tahera Rahman, who has covered the tech industry boom in Austin, was interviewed by Holt, explaining why tech companies find Austin attractive.
“Warm climate, you’re seeing it right now, also the low taxes, it’s considered very business friendly,” she said.
Holt also asked whether or not local officials are concerned the city is growing too quickly.
“I think city and county leaders are seeing it as more of an opportunity to manage that growth in an equitable way,” Rahman said.
Some of those challenges in growth for Austin, Nightly News says, are transportation and homelessness. Crime is another point of concern. Nightly News says homicides are spiking in the city, even though Austin’s overall crime rate is down.
Job growth in Austin has also heated up the housing market, making it more competitive. Nightly News says the median home price is $450,000, which is up more than 28% from last year.
Some feel they’re being “priced out” but have no plans to leave the city, Nightly News reports.
Veracruz All Natural gets a shoutout
Nightly News also highlighted an Austin food staple and its rise to success.
Veracruz All Natural was founded by two sisters from Mexico, Reyna and Maritza Vazquez. They told Holt it took them about three years to get the momentum going on their business.
Since then, the small business has grown from a single food trailer to six locations across the city, Nightly News reports.
The sisters say with pandemic closures, it was their outdoor food truck locations that helped keep them afloat while many businesses around them shuttered.
Veracruz All Natural has even taken its talents outside of Texas, expanding to Los Angeles with a food truck called “Hot Tacos.”