Merck IT Center Headed to Austin

July 30, 2017 by Kate Harrington

Pharmaceutical company Merck has announced that it will expand into Austin with plans to build a technology innovation center.

Merck will become a major presence in Central Austin, with plans to build its center either at the new Dell Medical School or in the adjacent Innovation Zone. A recent article by the Austin Monitor suggests that Merck could be the anchor tenant in Central Health‘s redevelopment of the former Brackenridge hospital.

City documents show that Merck will bring 119 full-time jobs to a temporary facility by the end of this year, and will build and equip a long-term space. That permanent home would eventually span about 90,000 square feet. The company plans to bring about 600 jobs to Austin and invest about $29 million to build and equip its innovation center.

Merck is getting help in Texas to bring those jobs here – Governor Greg Abbott’s office announced that the state will extend a $6 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant to the company, and the Austin City Council approved a $856,000 city tax incentive package in April.

Merck has said that its new center would work with local healthcare and high-tech entities, and its leaders anticipate that its presence near the medical school will help Austin’s Innovation Zone grow.

“In Austin, we think Merck sees an unprecedented effort by a number of partners to transform the ecosystem around people’s health, not just health care,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. “We’re hopeful that we’ll find ways to work with them on a wide range of efforts to reduce health inequities, improve patient outcomes and lower costs to the community. Just as they need an all-in community like Austin to advance some of their person-centered goals, our community needs a well-resourced, internationally engaged collaborator that will catalyze collaborative efforts to transform the ways people get and stay healthy.”

BuildingATX will continue to follow this developing story, and we will bring you the details as plans for Merck’s new facilities are released.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.