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Round Rock Lures Publishing Company from Austin

by: Claire Osborn / American-Statesman

ROUND ROCK — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. is saying goodbye to Austin and hello to Round Rock.

The Round Rock City Council approved an incentive deal this week for the publishing company to move the 270 employees from its Austin office at 10801 N. MoPac Blvd. to a new building at La Frontera, near Interstate 35 and Texas 45. The deal offers property tax breaks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as well as the company paying for the new building.

That company — called 2015 La Frontera Plaza Ltd. — will receive about $300,000 in property tax breaks over a 10-year period for building the structure, said Ben White, the vice president of economic development for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce.

The company will not have to pay any city property taxes on its building during the first two years of the agreement. During the rest of the agreement the property tax break will decrease from 75 percent to 25 percent. Then 2015 La Frontera Plaza Ltd. will pay the full amount of its property taxes in 2027.

“We are ending up with a very nice Class A office building,” Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw said Friday, the day after the council approved the incentives. “We get all that additional tax base plus the 270 people to go shop and dine here locally.”

And the publishing company gets to move closer to where many of its employees live, which is north of Austin, said Bianca Olson, a company spokeswoman. The Round Rock location also has many amenities for employees, such as restaurants, she said.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which publishes everything from school textbooks to “The Lord of the Rings” novels, is based in Boston but has 19 other offices around the United States.

The publishing company will receive about $25,000 to $30,000 in property tax breaks over a three-year period, White said. The tax breaks are for $3 million in improvements the publishing company is expected to make to the building, White said.

The company is expected to move in July 2016 to the new 100,000-square-foot, three-story building at 2700 La Frontera Blvd.

Under the agreement with Round Rock, the tax incentives for 2015 La Frontera Plaza Ltd. start in 2017 and end in 2026. The tax incentives for the publisher start in 2017 and end in 2019.

The incentives require 2015 La Frontera Plaza to spend $14.25 million on the construction of the building. A representative for the company did not respond to a request for comment Friday.