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Merck announces Austin plans

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Life science giant Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. announced Monday it will open a data center in Austin that will benefit from more than $800,000 in economic incentives from the city. City Council approved the incentives package in April but the company waited to formally announce its plans. The confirmation follows the state of Texas agreeing on a $6 million incentive agreement that will come out of the Texas Enterprise Fund. The $28 million IT hub will bring 600 jobs to the area, with a median wage of $79,000. Austin’s agreement will pay the company $86,500 per year through 2026. The deal marks the first time since 2014 that Council agreed to give an incentive package to a major employer. The 2014 deals brought investment and job creation from Websense, Dropbox and Athenahealth – with the total investment of $23 million, or just over 75 percent of what Merck will spend here. Such deals could become more rare in coming years since city staff is working to revamp the 380 Agreements behind incentive packages to emphasize middle-class jobs, workforce training and small business retention and focus less on attractive eight- and nine-figure projects from national employers.

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