News Column

SpaceX Buys More Land Near Boca Chica

Nov 30, 2012

Emma Perez-Trevino

SpaceX continues to invest in Cameron County, buying more property, as well as options it holds on other lands, as the time nears to unveil the results of the environmental impact study.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. purchased two more properties on Election Day Nov. 6 on the steps of the Cameron County Judicial Building on East Harrison Street, the Valley Morning Star learned.

Local officials have emphasized that this does not reflect that the California-based SpaceX has selected the Cameron County site near Boca Chica Beach from others that it is considering to establish a rocket launch facility.

Gilberto Salinas, vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, reiterated Wednesday that BEDC is not involved in SpaceX's land purchases, and has distanced itself from SpaceX's internal real estate decisions.

Sites in Florida, Puerto Rico, and perhaps Georgia also are being considered.

SpaceX began purchasing property in Cameron County in June, buying three tracts of land, the Valley Morning Star also has reported.

The prospective launch site here is located off State Highway 4, about a quarter-mile from Boca Chica Beach, and about 3 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The site is about 5 miles south of Port Isabel and South Padre Island. The site in Cameron County is said to be the lead contender.

SpaceX did not respond to requests to comment about its continued land purchases or to provide information about preliminary findings of the environmental impact study that the Federal Aviation Administration has been conducting.

Because SpaceX is paying for the study, the FAA has not revealed its costs or the preliminary findings. FAA has said that it expects the study would be completed by January.

FAA is studying the potential effects of SpaceX's proposal to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles from the Cameron County site.

New properties purchased

SpaceX's Director of Business Affairs Lauren Dreyer purchased two properties on Election Day Nov. 6. These are located in the Spanish Dagger Subdivision, west of Highway 4 and on the southwest side of Laguna Madre Beach Subdivision.

Public records show that Dreyer submitted the top bids on the two properties at an auction of the tax delinquent properties.

Dreyer purchased the first property, a lot, at the minimum bid of $3,280, which also is the property's appraised value. This property has owed taxes since 1988, according to Cameron County tax records.

The second lot that she purchased had a minimum bid of $5,780, and it sold for $22,000. Taxes on this property had not been paid since 1987, tax records show.

Earlier properties

The firm earlier this year purchased three lots also in the Spanish Dagger Subdivision under the name Dogleg Park LLC.

The purchase of the first property, consisting of a lot was recorded June 6 in the Cameron County District Clerk's Office. The lot, which measures 0.5739 of an acre, was purchased for $2,500 from Cameron County and the Point Isabel Independent School District.

Subsequently, an auction of properties took Dreyer to the front steps of the Cameron County Judicial Building where, according to public records, two other lots were purchased.

The two lots also in Spanish Dagger Subdivision were purchased at auction Sept. 4 for $6,400 and $15,000.

Cameron County continues to research the title to several lots that it believes it owns in the Rio Grande Beach Subdivision, Unit 2 that could be conveyed by the county to SpaceX through sale or lease, Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos has said.



Source: (c)2012 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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