Visa confirms plans for Austin offices

Visa Inc. confirmed Tuesday that it will build a global information technology center in Austin.

The company told the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce that it will move forward with the project proposed for 12301 Research Blvd., the former headquarters of Emerson Process Management, which relocated to Round Rock.

This is another great corporate citizen and world-renowned company that has selected Austin.

Visa won quick passage of the city incentives agreement last Thursday after it agreed to a wage floor of $11 an hour for construction workers on its project.

The company’s wages for permanent workers at its IT center will be far greater than that. Visa has said that the jobs it creates in Austin will have an average salary of more than $113,000 a year.

Visa is expected to start work on the new center soon. The company plans to spend $27.2 million on retrofitting and equipping the 175,000-square-foot Northwest Austin office building it has selected.

The center will employ at least 794 new full-time workers and retain 47 existing jobs by the end of 2017. The company has pledged to fill at least 70 percent of its new jobs in Austin with locally hired workers. Many of those are expected to be in software development related to the financial services and products that Visa supports worldwide.

The company, which does business in 200 countries, runs the world’s largest payment network, which is capable of handling more than 20,000 transactions per second.

The fact that the building in Austin was already built and just needs renovations allowed Visa to offer a wage floor for construction workers, the company said. If it had been an entirely new building, it would not have made a wage floor offer because that would have involved substantial additional cost, according to Brad Byers, head of the company’s real estate facilities for the Americas region.

The Austin City Council is expected to vote in January on a proposal to require companies that get local tax incentives to agree to provide an $11-an-hour floor wage both for full-time workers hired and for workers employed by related construction work.

Visa is continually looking for opportunities to add world-class talent to its organization. Austin offers a vibrant technology community and business-friendly climate.