CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — UPDATE (3:17 p.m. Wednesday): The second reading for the facility passed at the April 19 city council meeting.
Corpus Christi could soon bring in a billion-dollar tech business.
On Tuesday, Corpus Christi City Council approved the first reading for Bootstrap Energy to build a Bitcoin mining facility on the North West side of town.
These mining facilities use supercomputers to solve the puzzles that create digital currency.
It's a giant step toward putting Corpus Christi on the cryptocurrency map.
"They're basically wanting to move to this side specifically because of the access to the electricity. The electrical highway that you see behind me," said District 3 Councilman Roland Barrera.
That electrical highway is a diamond in the rough. It's a part of town that, according to several council members, hasn't been able to be developed.
"We're having a very difficult time in getting any developer to bring housing or even commercial out there because of our pipeline situation," said District 1 City Councilman Billy Lerma.
With the land not suitable for homes nor commercial business, in came the Economic Development Corporation with a match; Bootstrap Energy.
Once fully approved, Bootstrap Energy is expected build their facility by the end of the year. They will build on what's empty farmland on McKinzie Road, not far from Lyondell Basell Chemical facility.
“Now Corpus Christi is going to expand into the tech center,” said Barrera.
Bitcoin mining uses supercomputers, which draw a lot of energy. In fact, Bootstrap Energy will build two 300 megawatt substations to generate the energy they need. And if we need that energy, for let's say a possible storm, Barrera said the mining or the computers would shut down.
"They would power down their equipment so that way the electricity would be available to the citizens of Corpus Christi," he said.
The $1.3 billion investment also means tax dollars to the Tuloso-Midway School District.
"They'll get a substantial shot in the arm by this and for a school district like Tuloso-Midway, a million dollars is a big deal." said
Councilman At-Large, Mike Pusley.
Right now, the City of Corpus Christi gets just $250 a year in tax revenue from the site where this bitcoin mining will be built. Once Bootstrap Energy is ready to go, that tax revenue will jump to about $4.5 million for the city.
This facility will employ about 35-50 workers with a median pay at about $50,000, with the possibility of growing to 100 workers.
A second reading for the mining facility is scheduled to take place in a few weeks.