"It's absolutely insane," marvels Jared Padalecki. "It's like nothing I've ever seen. It's growth and expansion on a turbocharger. You're just going like … whoa."
That the Walker actor might struggle a bit to express the seismic changes to Austin over the past year is perfectly understandable. The Texas capital has undergone a pandemic influx unlike anywhere else in the country thanks to a flood of invading tech companies (Samsung, Oracle) along with quarantine-exhausted, remote-working transplants from major cities seeking a lifestyle upgrade — including some notable actors who, like Padalecki (an Austin resident since 2010), suddenly decided that the Texas Hill Country was more alluring than the Hollywood Hills.
Elon Musk might have called it. The mogul — who is opening a Tesla gigafactory the size of 138 football fields just outside the Austin city limits — declared in February that the city is going "to be the biggest boomtown America has seen in 50 years."