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Quality of Life Factors into Business Location Decision

Communities that can satisfy a company's quality-of-life concerns - with regard to housing, healthcare, education, recreation, etc. - can make moving a business a pleasure.

Dec/Jan 09
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PayPal located its offices in Austin in 2007. Key leadership at eBay, which already had a small presence in Austin prior to PayPal's move, influenced the decision; the company's leadership was pleased with their initial foray into that market. For Spielman, the key quality-of-life metrics were housing costs, crime rate, and education. Today, the company has about 200 people based in Austin, primarily the company's core payment services and customer service personnel.

"These are the core competencies we pride ourselves on, and we see Austin as having a pool of talent," says Spielman. "Of those 200 people, about 180 of them were selected out of this market. Twenty people relocated from San Jose and the San Francisco Bay area to Austin. The response from that group has been nothing but positive. They love how green it is, the housing market, and all the things that are available. Labeling Austin as `Silicon Hills' is appropriate in their minds."

Silicon Hills
Another technology leader that chose Austin for its quality of life is Borland Software Corp., the global leader in Open Application Lifecycle Management. "Although we moved only a small number of employees from the Bay Area to Austin, quality of life was quite important to us," says Jonathan Schoonmaker, senior vice president of corporate services for Borland. "We wanted to make sure that we were locating to a city that would allow us to attract worthy candidates from around the United States."

Before settling on Austin, Schoonmaker spent considerable time culling through data from the city's Chamber of Commerce. He evaluated such metrics as cost of living, education, demographics, housing costs, growth trends, infrastructure, and others. "It was especially critical for us to know there was a highly educated base to hire and recruit from, and we needed to feel confident that we could attract people to Austin if we had to go outside the area to hire."

Borland has been in Austin for more than a year. Today, the company has approximately 200 people working in their Austin headquarters.

"I think Austin is one of the best kept secrets around," says Schoonmaker. "He believes many people don't realize that it is a "vibrant, affordable, technology-oriented town that has a great cross-cultural feel with very diverse demographics." It is one of those places where the quality of life makes moving a business a pleasure.

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