Austin of­fers Visa $1.6 mil­lion

In­cen­tive OK’D in hopes pay­ment gi­ant will pick city for IT cen­ter.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Kirk Laden­dorf kladen­dorf@states­man.com Visa

Austin for­mally offiered $1.6 mil­lion in in­cen­tives Thurs­day to Visa Inc., the credit card pay­ments gi­ant that is con­sid­er­ing whether to build a new in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy cen­ter in Austin that would cre­ate nearly 800 new jobs over five years.

Visa, which runs the world’s largest pay­ments net­work, is ex­pected to choose a site by the end of this month. The Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pany also is con­sid­er­ing sites in Den­ver and Vir­ginia, ac­cord­ing to area busi­ness re­cruiters.

If it chooses Austin, the com­pany’s pro­posed con­tract with the city calls for cre­at­ing 794 new jobs by the end of 2017 with an av­er­age an­nual wage of $113,351.

The Austin City Coun­cil voted 7-0 Thurs­day night to offier the in­cen­tives deal, which would be the big­gest new tech ex­pan­sion in the area since Ap­ple Inc. ap­proved the cre­ation of an ex­panded 3,600-job Amer­i­cas Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter in June.

Visa sug­gested, and the coun­cil ap­proved, a change to the agree­ment that would re­quire Visa’s ar­chi­tect and gen­eral con­trac­tor to pay a min­i­mum wage of $11 an hour to work­ers on its con­struc­tion project. The com­pany made that de­ci­sion a few days ago af­ter lis­ten­ing to lo­cal con­cerns about wages paid to con­struc­tion work­ers for projects that get pub­lic in­cen­tives, said Gary Farmer, head of Op­por­tu­nity Austin, the eco­nomic devel­op­ment af­fil­i­ate of the Greater Austin Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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