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Behind the 14-Month Deal That Brought UPS to Round Rock

By: Michael Theis / Austin Business Journal

United Parcel Service Inc. plans to build a new $70 million distribution facility in Round Rock after city leaders approved an incentive package to lure the shipper.

The facility, just north of the Austin city limits, will be on a 50-acre plot near the intersection of State Highway 45 and A.W. Grimes Boulevard.

Round Rock City Council unanimously approved an incentives package that gives Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE: UPS) as much as $500,000 in economic incentive payments in addition to property tax refunds for the years 2019-2026.

I spoke with Ben White of the Round Rock Chamber to discuss how this project ended up in his city.

How long has this project been in development, and how did you attract UPS to Round Rock? We’ve been working on this project since February 2015. It started off as an Opportunity Austin project. UPS looked at several communities and finally chose Round Rock. They were looking for a site that would be good for distribution channels and for their trucks. They were also looking for a site that was 40-50 acres where they could build a new facility in proximity to major thoroughfares.

This was an incentivized project. In Austin’s city limits, corporate incentives have become a thing of the past, but not so in the suburbs. Does that give you an advantage over other cities in the region? I would say absolutely, yes. It shows that the city of Round Rock is open for good, quality corporate citizens. If it takes a little incentives to make that come to fruition, we’ll go down that road. Now, the location is No. 1. I don’t think the incentives were what won the deal. I think they helped to close the deal.

What else helped close the deal? Without the help of Williamson County, this project would not be in Round Rock. The Commissioners Court passed their own [incentives package] and also entered into an agreement to improve Roundville Lane. The incentives helped close the deal, but the road improvements were needed to make that portion of land developable.

Michael Theis covers local government, courts and economic development for the Austin Business Journal.