Austin bags $20M, 600-job Merck IT hub

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Merck will locate its latest information technology hub in the city.

“Texas continues to excel as an economic powerhouse because global industry leaders like Merck recognize the Lone Star State as a premier state for business expansion and enterprise,” Abbott said in a news release. “I am extremely encouraged by Merck’s investment in Texas, and for the opportunities and jobs that will come along with it. This expansion is another example that Texas is the place where business and innovation come to thrive.”

City Council struck a deal in mid-April offering $850,000 in incentives to pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. The agreement calls for at least 600 IT jobs for Austinites.

Although various locations in Austin are being considered, priority could go to a location in Austin’s downtown Innovation Zone near The University of Texas Dell Medical School and the recently closed University Medical Center Brackenridge.

Construction of a long-term space, proposed to be up to 90,000 square feet in size, could begin toward the end of 2018 and be completed by 2020, according to Merck.

Per the terms of the 10-year agreement, today’s seventh- and eighth-graders would be entering the workforce when the Merck jobs are created.

The average annual salary for Merck’s proposed Austin center is projected at $84,586, with the lowest 10 percent of employees earning an average of $54,511 annually. By 2026, the company projects its median annual salary for Austin-area employees would be $79,500.

“We are excited that Merck has selected Austin as home for their 4th Innovative IT Hub in the world,” said Kerry Hall, 2017 chair of Opportunity Austin, an initiative of the Austin Chamber. “Merck’s presence in the Austin community enhances our position as a global leader in technology, innovation, and job growth. Securing this international and innovative company was truly a team effort, working side-by-side with the City of Austin and our state and regional partners over the past year.”

Source: Community Impact Newspaper
JJ Valasquez

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