Charles Schwab's Austin expansion: I talked to Chuck's top gun

Oct 8, 2014
Austin Business Journal

Schwab is in the process of developing a $200 million campus in North Austin— an integral part of its plan to double jobs in Austin from about 1,000 currently to 2,000


Most of the jobs won’t come open until 2016 because the company is maxed out on space it leases at Research Park Plaza off U.S. Highway 183. Bettinger is confident there will be plenty of talent to go around when the job pipeline begins to flow in 2016


Of course, government incentives estimated at about $7.8 million likely added to the appeal. Schwab will receive about $4.5 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, which has been at the center of a recent audit controversy, and about $3.3 million in county property tax abatement


For its end of the deal, Schwab promises to add 823 high-paying jobs — a figure that Bettinger expects will be far exceeded


The emphasis on the Austin market follows expansions in other regional markets such as Denver and Phoenix. Others are in Cleveland, Indianapolis and Orlando, Florida


Bettinger said it’s no secret that Schwab will reduce the workforce at its San Francisco headquarters from 2,400 employees to about 1,200. He blames the high cost of living in the city by the bay, along with more bureaucratic issues


Still, the company has no plans to move its corporate headquarters


For now the emphasis is on growing various service centers around the country, including the $250 million campus it delivered last week at Lone Tree, a suburb south of Denver


The Austin campus currently is in the design phase with Page— the Austin-founded architectural firm — taking the lead. A general contractor has not yet been hired


The hiring focus here will be multi-pronged, but “Austin will be very technology-centric,” Bettinger said


The affable CEO said he was thrilled to participate in the UT event. He said he’s been to Austin “at least 15 times.”


Bettinger pointed out that last year, for the first time, the company’s board of directors met outside of San Francisco — right here at its North Austin offices. The convenience from both coasts played a role in that decision



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