SOFTWARE

Oracle announces Austin layoffs

The California-based software company says it will lay off 71 workers.

Posted December 12th, 2016

Software company Oracle Corp. told state officials it is laying off 71 workers in Austin. 

In a letter sent to the Texas Workforce Commission, as required by federal law when a company does a mass layoff, Oracle said it is laying off employees who worked on "Project RAPID" at its Riata Park facility in Northwest Austin

The Riata Park facility is not closing, Oracle said in its letter. 

"Rather, Oracle is discontinuing work on Project RAPID at the Riata Park facility, and for that reason, must lay off the employees at the Riata Park facility who are assigned to Project RAPID and have not found alternate positions at Oracle."

According to Oracle's website, Project RAPID is a hardware and software project that targets large-scale data management and analysis

Affected workers have already been notified, Oracle said. The laid-off employees will receive 60 days of pay, two months of employer-paid health insurance and an employer match based on their current 401(k) contribution, the company reported. 

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment further about the company's layoffs.

It wasn't immediately clear if this decision has any impact on Oracle's plans to build a new corporate campus in East Austin. A year ago, Oracle announced it was building a new 560,000 square foot campus on 27 acres near Lady Bird Lake. Construction work has already begun on the project.

Tyler Woods, Cypress Real EstateThis view shows the Azul Apartments, which Oracle has purchased along with 27 undeveloped acres where it plans to build a corporate campus. 

Jobs at the new campus will be primarily sales-oriented, Oracle said last year, and the new campus meant adding "50 percent" to its Austin workforce in the next few years. Oracle did not disclose the size of its current workforce at the time the new campus was announced.

The deal to buy the land also includes a 295-unit luxury apartment complex called Azul Lakeshore.  

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce estimates that they employ between 1,000 and 2,000 people in Austin.

The new corporate campus was controversial because it meant demolishing an older apartment complex on that land, and tenants claimed they weren't given enough notice to move out by their landlord, Cypress Real Estate Advisors. 

In August of 2015, the tenants were asked to move out by Sept. 30. Later, the tenants learned that Cypress asked them to leave so their building could be demolished to make room for the new Oracle campus. 

The tenants later sued Cypress Real Estate Advisors in June of this year for terminating their leases early and failing to make repairs. Oracle is not a party to this lawsuit.

The Lakeview incident helped convince the Austin City Council to pass additional regulations that require better notification to tenants and financial assistance if an apartment is being demolished or substantially renovated. 

Three years ago, Oracle received a seven-year tax abatement from Williamson County, and additional funds from the state, worth over $1 million. The agreement, which affected its facility on W. Parmer Lane, required Oracle to spend $5.4 million on office improvements and add 200 sales and marketing jobs by 2017. 

Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Redwood City, Calif,, Oracle is one of the biggest software companies in the world, with revenue of $38 billion in fiscal 2015. 

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