By: Mike Parker / Statesman
A beauty products company is expanding and two new commercial buildings are being built in Round Rock with the help of economic incentives offered by the city and the Round Rock Chamber.
Phlur Inc. will receive as much as $75,000 and EastGroup Properties will receive as much as $96,000 through agreements approved last week by the City Council. The business expansion and additional speculative space for light industrial business amount to a more than $11 million capital investment in Round Rock, city staff said.
Phlur, which owns Texas Beauty Labs, will invest at least $2.65 million in expanding its research and development labs, manufacturing facility and warehouse and corporate offices at the Settlers Crossing industrial park on Old Settlers Boulevard, according to a city news release.
If Phlur holds to that investment and creates at least 35 new jobs within the next five years, it will receive $25,000 a year from the city over a three-year period, per the agreement.
At a regular council meeting Thursday, Phlur COO Shawn Freeman said Texas Beauty Labs began eight years ago with a young mother making soap in her kitchen. Phlur acquired the business in June after raising $7 million through investors.
“We were just as inspired by her story and impressed by her business and wanted to be part of that,” Freeman said. “And as you’ll hear, we’re making a large investment to help her get to the next stage of growth.”
Today, he said, Texas Beauty Labs has grown into a $10 million business and employs about 100 people in Round Rock. Projections for the company include employing an additional 100 people and reaching $50 million in annual sales within the next five years.
Round Rock Chamber CEO Jason Ball lauded the agreement, saying Phlur is making a significant investment in facilities and providing local jobs.
“An expansion for one business turns into a growth opportunity for many others in our community,” he said, pointing out how company employees will be shopping locally for groceries, clothes or a car.
Nichole Vance, the chamber’s director of business attraction, said the new jobs will range from entry- to executive-level positions. She also noted the city has stipulations in place to avoid payments if Phlur does not meet its obligations in the agreement.
Another agreement approved by the council offers incentives for EastGroup Properties to expanding office space at the Settlers Crossing industrial park by nearly 173,000 square feet. Two new buildings totaling 97,518 and 75,277 square feet are slated for the second phase of the complex, which already hosts two buildings totaling nearly 160,000 square feet.
If EastGroup upholds to that agreement, it will receive as much as $96,000 over five years.
Ball said available speculative space can be the difference between a business moving to Round Rock or another city.
“Having existing facilities built and ready makes us more competitive in a quickly growing economy,” he said. “There continues to be very high demand for industrial space in Round Rock, and occupancy rates continue to be very high.”
The council also updated an agreement it approved two years ago for the first phase of Settlers Crossing. While the original agreement had the city paying EastGroup a percentage of tax rebates over a five year period, Vance said the new agreement streamlines that process by having set payments each year totaling $91,000.
Per that agreement, EastGroup must provide at least $9 million in property improvements at the complex.
EastGroup is a Maryland-based real estate investment trust with 43.5 million square feet of development projects and facilities, according to its website.