Roll out the welcome wagon! It’s time for our annual roundup of companies expanding or relocating to Texas. While the list doesn’t yet include Amazon HQ2 (maybe soon, though, as gambling odds are currently 3 to 1 for Austin), it does highlight some major wins in every major Texas metro.
The big newcomer story in Austin is pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., which will open its new IT innovation center soon with 600 new jobs. The center will be located on the Dell Medical School campus for now. Joining Merck in creating innovation centers in Austin (albeit on smaller scales) are Ericsson and the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI). While American Advisors Group (AAG) already opened its first stand-alone operations center in Austin, about 150 associates are expected to join the core 25 employees soon.
These wins fall on the heels of other recent Austin relocations including UK-based Brightpearl, San Diego-based SOCi, Lepide Software of London and New Delhi, Viridis Learning from New York and Palo Alto, Sacramento-based ModSquad, and Volition America (a subsidiary of Belgium-based VolitionRx). Austin, in particular, continues to attract established tech companies for several reasons including geographic location and available talent.
“Austin is very good for an international company — you get more hours of the day to talk to Europe,” Brightpearl CEO Derek O’Carroll told Built In Austin. “Before this office, we only had about two hours in the day where our San Francisco team could talk to our U.K. office. There are also a lot of partner opportunities here with other tech companies like BigCommerce and ShipStation, and great universities that lead to exceptional talent.”
San Antonio has had some interesting tech sector wins lately. Television and video streaming service Hulu led the charge with a viewer experience center that opened in the Alamo city this past fall. Los Angeles-based TaskUs is expanding its San Antonio operations with 500 new call center hires and CaptureRX, a healthcare tech company, is hiring 200 new workers. While financial services provider USAA isn’t new to San Antonio, it does plans to make a move, too, by further investing in San Antonio’s urban core, soon relocating up to 2,000 employees downtown.
Let’s not forget the I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin, which is home to some of the most exciting recent relocations in Texas like Amazon’s big fulfillment center and Urban Mining Company (relocating from Maryland), which both chose to settle in San Marcos.
Dallas-Fort Worth and North Texas
The DFW area has been a hotbed for corporate relocations and expansions in the past year or so, with big names like Toyota North America campus, Huawei, Samsung, Kubota and Hilti setting up shop in the region. Pharmaceutical distributor McKesson opened its Dallas-Fort Worth location in 2017, too, and plans on continuing to fill its campus’ 2,400-person capacity in the coming months. Global IT services giant NTT Data International recently moved its North American headquarters to Plano as well, after its recent acquisition of Dell Services.
Garland will land 1,600 new jobs as nutritional supplement manufacturer Nutribiotech USA expands its research and development and production facilities by more than 100 times its current size. In Fort Worth, Facebook continues major expansions to its data center complex. And, in more delicious news, Asian restaurant chain Pei Wei Asian Diner is in the process of moving its headquarters from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Irving.
Houston and Southeast Texas
Houston’s business cycle index has expanded about 35% since 2009, but it’s been a bumpy ride due to the volatility of the oil and gas market and, more recently, setbacks from Hurricane Harvey. Greater Houston Partnership Research reports that in 2017, “for every two steps forward, the region took one step back…’18 promises to be a better year, however, because two of Houston’s economic drivers—U.S. economic growth and global trade—will move forward.”
One shining beacon drawing in business for Houston and the entire Southwest Texas region is liquefied natural gas (LNG). Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Jim Rich told us, “With the proposed $10 billion expansion of Golden Pass LNG in 2018, along with the already expanded Cheniere LNG, we are poised to be the center for LNG storage and exports around the world. We further look forward to potential significant expansions in 2019 by Exxon Mobil and others.”
Manufacturing is also skyrocketing for Houston and Southeast Texas, with job growth in that area at four times the national average. At the heart of this boom are international firms—German manufacturers particularly. Houston Chronicle reports several German companies have expanded their Houston footprint in recent years, including BASF, Bayer Material Science, DB Schenker, Linde Group and Siemens. German construction equipment manufacturer Bauer-Pileco joins the list in April as it opens an $11 million manufacturing plant in Conroe.
Warehousing and distribution centers are creating jobs in the region, too. UPS plans to build a 260,000-square-foot distribution center in northwest Houston, Best Buy is planning a distribution center in Missouri City, Ikea is expanding warehouse space in Baytown, and Amazon will open a new facility in Katy this year.
What other company relocations and expansions in Texas are you excited about? Let us know!