SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council is hoping the revamped car brand from the “Back to the Future” movie franchise will bring economic success back to San Antonio in the future.
City council members on Thursday unanimously approved up to $562,500 worth of grants for DeLorean Motor Company to set up its headquarters at Port San Antonio and also allowed it to apply for $1.25 million worth of tax refunds through the state.
The deal requires DeLorean to create up to 450 jobs by the end of 2026 paying at least $50,000 and an average salary of $145,600.
City staff estimates the project will bring in $2.7 million of city revenue over 10 years and provide a net fiscal benefit of $507,280.
DeLorean, which is not related to the original car company from the 1980s, is relaunching the iconic brand as an electric vehicle company. However it plans to contract the actual manufacturing of electric coupes and SUVs through other locations, according to city documents.
CEO Joost de Vries said the majority of the positions at the San Antonio headquarters would be engineering positions.
Council members and city staff stressed the grant dollars will only be paid out as DeLorean hits the 150, 300, and 450 job milestones, at a rate of $1,250 per job.
“That’s not a giveaway,” said District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez. “That’s a very important investment that we’re making in a very, very safe way.”
De Vries noted during the meeting that “other states offer a lot more zeros than you do,” but that wasn’t the only thing DeLorean was looking for.
“Building a car company is a billion dollar gamble over a multitude of years. So $500,000, or $5 million, or $50 million isn’t going to make the decision. It is what is around,” he told reporters after the vote.
De Vries listed off considerations like the proximity to Southwest Research Institute, the vision for Port SA’s future, and the eagerness of the city council and local economic development group, “greater:SATX.”
“The people here in San Antonio offered a 360-degree view that was really appealing to us from a long term perspective,” he said.
The company must also make at least an $18.5 million investment, though Port SA President & CEO Jim Perschbach said it would end up being “significantly larger.”
Council also nominated DeLorean as a Texas Enterprise Zone Project, which allows the company to apply for state sales and use tax refunds for qualified expenditures up to $1.25 million over five years.
Bexar County commissioners will discuss entering into negotiations for their own incentives at an Apr. 19 meeting.
The brand still hasn’t unveiled its first vehicle, though that is scheduled to happen in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.