Monday's groundbreaking for Tesla's Lithium Refining Plant in Robstown has dug up some questions. Many are now wondering how the company will impact the future of the local economy and housing market.
Because the facility is said to be the first of its kind in North America, Texas A & M - Corpus Christi professor of economics, Jim Lee said it's difficult to provide a precise prediction about the outcomes.
"But I'm confident when it's all said and done, the economic impact will be more than double than the estimated amount of 165 jobs that the Tesla plant actually promises to bring to the area." he said. "We are riding the wave of the national level energy transition."
There are also concerns about where the Tesla plant's workforce will live. Officials say, Tesla is looking to offer opportunities to local talent. Professor Lee added; because the company is looking to fill less than 200 positions there shouldn't be drastic or immediate impacts.
"The market will be tight, but again hopefully Robstown and the City of Corpus Christi, we will build more. But I can tell you we have quite a few developers who are seeing this as an opportunity to building more housing in the area." Lee explained.
Opportunity is a word residents will frequently hear as the huge development unfolds. Professor Lee said the company could choose to expand in the future, adding more jobs and attracting other businesses to the area. He also believes this enhances the potential of the Coastal Bend, becoming a strong resource for alternative energy as demand for lithium continues.
"It's almost like we are saving the world, if not the United States," said Lee. "This is just a stepping stone for the entire coastal bend."
Overall, only time will tell. Construction on the facility is expected to be complete in about a year, according to officials. The company hopes to start production a year after that.