Message from the Director
The Economic Development Department’s mission is to develop and lead innovative programs that increase the prosperity of Austinites, businesses, and diverse neighborhoods, creating a cultural and economic environment that enhances the vitality of the community. The mission supports the opportunity to be a best-managed city and a leader in developing and applying creative solutions to our shared challenges.
The City’s commitment to growing business big and small has not gone unnoticed – our Small Business, Global Business Recruitment, and Redevelopment programs within the Economic Development Department received professional awards in the last year. EDD is at the forefront of defining the dynamic role that economic development plays in fast-growing cities:
· 2015 International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Sustainable & Green Development Award (Gold Excellence): Austin Materials Marketplace
· 2015 IEDC Human Capital Award (Silver Excellence): Global Business Recruitment Partnership with Capital Idea
· 2015 IEDC Entrepreneurship Award (Bronze Excellence): BizAid Program
· 2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary’s Opportunity & Empowerment Award: Mueller Redevelopment
· 2015 Texas Economic Development Council Workforce Excellence Award: Global Business Recruitment Partnership with Capital Idea
· Awarded two prestigious ArtPlace America Creative Placemaking Grants: thinkEAST and Drawing Lines
Economic Development Department Return on Investment:
· Cultural Arts and Contracts awarded $8.1 million in cultural contracts to 566 arts professionals and arts organizations, and completed 9 citywide public art restoration projects.
· Global Business Recruitment and Expansion received 150 international inquiries and all inquiries lead to formal international visits from South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia.
· The Small Business Program negotiated and executed three Family Business Loans totaling $1.7 million that will create at least 55 new jobs for low- and moderate-income persons. The Business Solutions Center received 5,343 customer visits that led to 34 entrepreneurs entering new markets and 204 new jobs created.
· Music and Entertainment launched the first Census and Assessment Study of Austin’s music industry and its workers to capture an in-depth look at economic issues and opportunities.
· Redevelopment encouraged mixed use development adding 792 new residential units and 71,000 sqft of new retail in the downtown district. Additionally, the iconic Seaholm Power Plant development project has neared completion of 143,151 sqft of office space; 48,363 sqft of retail and restaurant space, ranging in size from 1,000 sqft -10,000 sqft; a 30-story residential tower with 280 high-rise condo units and ground floor retail; and 113,063 sqft of Seaholm Power Plant which will contain office, retail, and restaurant space and 0.80 acres of open space that includes the front yard and plaza.
While we are pleased with these results, in a fast-growing and dynamic city like Austin, it is a continuous cycle to meet the evolving needs and expectations of our community. We will continue to work toward increased satisfaction which can only be achieved with meaningful and thoughtful engagement with our residents.
L. Kevin Johns