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  • Mindy Raymond

Hulu estimated to spend $13M on new San Antonio campus

Television streaming giant Hulu is expected to spend an estimated $13 million renovating a new 45,000-square-foot campus in San Antonio where the California company will run its “viewer experience operations,” city records show.

“With its vibrant culture and large and diverse talent pool, we’re incredibly excited to partner with the city to make San Antonio home to our viewer experience operations,” Ben Smith, head of Hulu experience said in a press release.

City and Bexar County leaders spent months courting Hulu to locate its customer service center in San Antonio, bringing with it 300 new jobs when it opens this fall with a peak of 500 by the end of 2018. They offered a generous package of tax incentives, coupled with a $1.3 million cash grant Gov. Greg Abbott pledged from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

Hulu’s Viewer Experience Operations headquarters will provide around-the-clock telephone, email, chat and social media support. It also will reach out to customers and conduct account analysis. Positions will include customer support, training, management and leadership.

Sixty-five of the jobs will pay more than $50,000 a year — the minimum needed to qualify for the incentive packages being offered by the city and county, according to city officials.

The other jobs must pay at least $11.83 an hour, the city’s current living-wage standard. At two years, Hulu must pay at least 70 percent of its employees $15.68 an hour, or about $32,000 a year.

Most of the workers will be millennials, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation CEO and President Jenna Saucedo-Herrera said in an interview.

The company is expected to lease and renovate a building at 4511 Horizon Hill Blvd. in the Fountainhead Business Park, according to a proposed city ordinance outlining incentives.

The renovations costs are estimated at more than $12.92 million, according to the incentive package. Saucedo-Herrera said that Hulu expects to be able to move in this fall.

San Antonio’s selection still hinges on the approval of incentive packages for the company from the city, Bexar County and the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund.

City Council and Bexar County Commissioners Court will vote on their respective incentive offers next week.

The city council votes next Thursday on a six-year, 100 percent property tax abatement on the real estate and office equipment for Hulu, City Manager Sheryl Sculley said. The value of the abatement is roughly $278,000 over the six years.

Bexar County officials are voting on a 10-year property tax abatement at 90 percent for Hulu on Tuesday.

Bexar County Economic Development Director Jordana Decamps said the value of the county incentive over 10 years is an estimated $403,232.

Combined, the city, state and county incentives total about $1.97 million.

Saucedo-Herrera said the San Antonio Viewer Experience Operations headquarters will be positioned to help the company roll out new products, including a live-TV service starting this spring, as the television and movie streaming industry rapidly evolves.

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