Access to talent, transportation and its restaurants were behind Pei Wei Diner LLC’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Las Colinas.

The Asian fast casual chain, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is planning to move its corporate operations to 6191 N. Highway 161 in Irving. It will set up an interim office in September, with a full build-out of its new headquarters slated to be finished by the end of the year.

The space will include a test kitchen and initially hold 30 workers, though Pei Wei plans to grow to 100 employees in the next few years. The new workers’ annual salaries will average $125,000.

Nationally, Pei Wei boasts 225 locations employing 6,000 workers, including 65 units and 2,500 workers across Texas, according to a prepared statement from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Moving its headquarters comes as the chain shakes up its ownership and leadership team. John “J.” Hedrick took over as Pei Wei’s CEO on Jan. 30, bringing experience in the North Texas market. The restaurant executive has held positions with 7-Eleven Inc. and Pilot Flying J.

The relocation also coincides with the concept separating from its parent company, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. According to Hedrick, Pei Wei will become a fully independent operating unit.

“It’s a new launch of Pei Wei, and we’re excited to do it in the greater Dallas area,” Hedrick added.

North Texas was reportedly among several places Pei Wei considered for its relocation. The concept was also looking at moving to North Carolina and Tennessee, or elsewhere in its home state of Arizona.

Economic incentives played a part in luring Pei Wei to Irving. The city approved a $75,000 incentive package for the chain, agreeing to pay $750 for every job the company creates over the next five years, up to 100 jobs.

The state also approved $500,000 in incentives from the Texas Enterprise Fund, marking Abbott’s fifth grant from the TEF. In return, Pei Wei is expected to make a capital investment of $1.5 million in its move to Irving and generate at least 1,000 hotel visits a year to the city.

“The Texas model of limited government, reduced regulations and low taxes continues to create a diverse economy that attracts businesses from a variety of industries,” Abbott said in a prepared statement. “Pei Wei is a welcome addition to the Lone Star state and I am confident that our robust economy and superior workforce will fuel their continued success and growth. As governor, I will continue to promote policies that lead to more relocations by industry leaders.”

Presented by Dallas Business Journal, August 23, 2017

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