Silver lining: Cedar Park strikes deal with jewelry giant
Economic agreement for James Avery second headquarters adds 102 jobs, sales tax and property tax revenue growth
Texas-based jewelry giant James Avery Artisan Jewelry will build its second headquarters in Cedar Park, thanks to economic incentive agreements approved by City Council on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at its Regular Scheduled Meeting. Under the performance-based agreements, the second headquarters adds 102 jobs with average wages of $75,000 to Cedar Park. James Avery will invest $13 million in capital expenditures with construction of a 35,000 square foot office headquarters in Cedar Park, including land, building and other improvements.
Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale shared a personal memory that underscores just how iconic and enduring James Avery Craftsman jewelry is.
“I do not have many memories from when I was four or five years old,” Mayor 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.”
The company was started in 1954 by James Avery in a two-car garage in Kerrville, Texas. In 2007, Mr. Avery retired as CEO and handed the reins to his son Chris. Today, James Avery describes itself as a vertically integrated, family-owned company based in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. James Avery is a multi-channel retailer with 89 stores (including one located in Cedar Park’s 1890 Ranch shopping center) in five states, 220 Dillard’s stores in Texas and 28 other states, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and nationwide at JamesAvery.com. James Avery crafts jewelry in Texas workshops in Comfort, Fredericksburg, Hondo and Kerrville.
James Avery CFO Paul Zipp explained why Cedar Park was such a good fit for the company’s new second headquarters.
Zipp said, “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.”
Under the first agreement, the Cedar Park Economic Development (Type A) Corporation, funded by 3/8 cent from local sales tax, will invest $507,500 in the James Avery Craftsman’s second headquarters, payable over five years. The agreement, which is performance-based with built-in protections for the City, provides incentives based on the number of employees the company guarantees in Cedar Park. In its first year alone, James Avery promises 65 jobs. Under the agreement, there is a relocation bonus for up to 25 existing employees and the company projects annual job growth of 10 employees per year over the following few years. The company projects 102 full-time employees and an annual payroll of $7.65 million over a five year period. The agreement also stipulates that construction of the new office headquarters must be complete by the end of July 2021.
Council also authorized a Chapter 380 agreement with James Avery, which will provide up to $18,000 in rollback taxes for the built-out property that will be located at the northeast corner of the 183A Frontage Road and Scottsdale Drive.
In addition to James Avery’s capital expenditures investment in Cedar Park along with new sales tax and new property tax revenues, the economic benefit to Cedar Park is 23.1 percent rate of return and a payback period of 4.1 years on the project.