ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Council approves James Avery second headquarters incentive agreements

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The Cedar Park Council has unanimously approved a pair of incentive agreements with James Avery Craftsman, Inc. as a part of the company's agreement to build a second headquarters in Cedar Park.

The council approved the incentives during its June 27 meeting, as the Kerrville-based jewelry chain plans to spend $13 million in capital expenditures to build a second headquarters at the northeast corner of the 183A Frontage Road and Scottsdale Drive. The company said it will add 102 jobs with an average salary of $75,000.

The city’s first economic incentive agreement stipulates that the city will provide $507,500 – funded by 3/8 cent from local sales tax – in exchange for the company completing construction of the headquarters by the end of July 2021 and adding the 102 jobs within 5 years. The agreement stipulates the number of jobs James Avery must add each each of those years, including 65 jobs within the first year. The package includes incentives for relocating up to 25 of the company’s current employees to Cedar Park.

The city’s second, Chapter 380 agreement, provides up to $18,000 in rollback taxes for the build-out of the headquarters.

City documents show the project is projected to provide a 23.1 percent rate of return with a payback period of 4.1 years.

Cedar Park Director of Economic Development Ben White said a payback period of even 5 years is a good sign, calling the project “a tremendous win for us,” particularly since it is an opportunity for the city to help grow a Texas-based company.

During the presentation, Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale spoke about not only his excitement for the benefit the project would bring to the city, but also his personal connection to the company.

“I do not have many memories from when I was four or five years old,” Van Arsdale said, “but one memory I do have from the 70s is when my dad came home with a piece of jewelry for my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money back then so it was a big deal for him to bring a piece of jewelry. It was a four crossed James Avery charm and I remember being about four or five years old, playing with that charm. Well, I went home and saw her last weekend and she was wearing that charm.”

James Avery CFO Paul Zipp told the council that the company was looking for more than just a good location when choosing Cedar Park.

“We looked at not only the physical site, but the community we would be moving into – that the topographical aspects and the community culture would be familiar. We seek to maintain the company culture that we all enjoy in Kerrville and that Mr. Avery established over many decades,” Zipp said.

Operating since 1954, James Avery has 83 stores in five states and five manufacturing workshops, all located in Texas. The company’s jewelry is also available in more than 200 Dillard’s stores in Texas and in 28 additional states, in addition to its online retail sites.

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