The Hut Group is potentially eyeing the Commerce Building at 314 East Commerce.
The Hut Group is slated to move into the Commerce Building at 314 E. Commerce St. after renovations are complete. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

More than 160 high-paying tech jobs are headed for San Antonio after City Council on Thursday approved an incentive deal with a British e-commerce group.

The Hut Group, headquartered near Manchester, England, is set to finalize the move of its U.S. Divisional Ingenuity Headquarters from Salt Lake City to San Antonio after receiving a $500,000 performance-based economic development grant from the City and a $250,000 Bexar County Innovation Fund grant the Commissioners Court approved on Tuesday.

“This is a great opportunity to scale this business right in the heart of downtown,” said Rene Dominguez, director of the City’s Economic Development Department.

The Hut Group would occupy 5,200 square feet in the Commerce Building at 314 E. Commerce St. downtown. Established in 1902, the 36,000-square-foot building is undergoing significant renovations to accommodate mixed-use retail and office space. According to CREO Architecture, the firm that designed the renovation project, the update will be complete in 2019. The Hut Group would be able to move in soon after.

The Commerce Street location would help the company expand its American presence with a focus on its business-to-business web-hosting services, according to City documents.

The Hut Group owns and operates more than 100 e-commerce brands in the areas of beauty, wellness, luxury clothing and accessories, and lifestyle. The 165 full-time jobs created would be high-paying, according to Jenna Saucedo-Herrera said, president and CEO  of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. All would pay upward of $70,000 a year and with an average annual salary of $85,000.

The deal, which falls under Chapter 380 of the State’s Local Government Code, will remain in place for eight years. Per the code, a municipality that lends a company money to promote economic development within the city, such as with a commercial or retail project, may recover funds if the company fails to meet its performance standards, such as the number of jobs created.

“We want to thank you for the investment you are making in San Antonio now and how this is going to help us in the future as well,” Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3) said Thursday before Council approved the item.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the high-tech positions such as software developers, engineers, and technical development The Hut Group will bring to downtown will help position San Antonio as a “future tech city.”

“Thank you for recognizing our strength there,” Nirenberg said. “We want to make sure your success is our success as well.”

According to its 2017 annual report, The Hut Group has more than 4,000 employees worldwide after creating 1,884 jobs last year with plans to add 2,000 positions in 2018. It keeps offices in 10 cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Europe, and Australia.

The company was valued at $3.3 billion in 2017, according to Sky News.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.