Fort Worth council supportive of tax abatements for Walmart, Carolina Beverage

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH _ City Council members were supportive Tuesday of proposed tax abatement agreements for Walmart and Carolina Beverage Group that could bring hundrends of jobs to the Alliance Corridor over several years.

Walmart is considering leasing a 788,000-square-foot building at 5300 Westport Parkway for an online fulfillment center. Under its proposed agreement, it would bring 400 new full-time equivalent jobs to the center by Dec. 31, 2017.

Carolina Beverage, a major beverage maker and packager, proposes to lease a 400,000-square-foot building at 13300 Park Vista Blvd. for a manufacturing and distribution center. It would hire a minimum 225 full-time equivalent people by Dec. 31, 2018.

"Both of these projects are still in play," Robert Sturns, a city economic development manager, told the council Tuesday afternoon. "We don't have any signed contracts."

Councilman Dennis Shingleton, whose newly redrawn district will take up much of the Alliance Corridor, said of the Walmart proposal, "I want to pursue this." He called the Carolina Beverage proposal "good stuff" and a "good deal."

"Our friends at Carolina Beverage, welcome to Fort Worth," Mayor Betsy Price told representatives of the company, seated in the audience.

Walmart, projected to bring in $469 billion in revenue this year, expects its online sales to surpass $9 billion in 2013 and has said a "next-generation" online fulfillment network is a priority.

At the Fort Worth center, it proposes to investment up to $30 million on business personal property. It committed to spending the greater of 55 percent or $210,000 annually on supplies and services with Fort Worth companies, and the greater of 25 percent or $96,000 with Fort Worth women and minority-owned businesses.

It would hire 250 full-time equivalent people by the end of calendar 2014, a total 300 through 2015, 350 through 2016, and 400 through 2017. Forty percent would be Fort Worth residents, and 5 percent central city.

Up to 75 percent of its city property taxes on the value of the investment would be abated over 10 years, or about $2 million. Walmart would pay $1.5 million.

The city would waive about $15,000 in permit fees under the agreement.

Failure to reach the various benchmarks would result in a proportionate reduction in the abatement, Sturns said. Thirty percentage points of the abatement is based on the capital investment.

Walmart has told the city it would sign a 15-year lease with a 20-year option. The council is scheduled to vote April 23 on the agreement.

Carolina Beverage proposes to invest a minimum $5 million in capital improvements in Fort Worth. the greater of 40 percent or $1.48 million would be with Fort Worth companies, and the greater of 25 percent or $925,000 with minority and women-owned businesses

The company also would invest a minimum $36 million in business personal property.

For supplies and services, Carolina Beverage committed to spending the greater of 30 percent or $360,000 with Fort Worth companies, and greater of 25 percent or $300,000 with minority and women-owned businesses.

It would hire a minimum 60 FTEs by the end of 2014, minimum total 120 through 2016, and minimum total 225 through 2018. At least 35 percent would be Fort Worth residents, and 5 percent central city residents.

The city would abate up to 70 percent of city property taxes on the value of the real and business property investment over 10 years, or an estimated $2.4 million. Carolina Beverage would pay $1.895 million.

The city would also waive permit fees valued at about $20,000.

As with the Walmart agreement, failure to meet any of the benchmarks would result in a proportionate cut to the total potential abatement. Overall employment accounts for 20 percent of the potential abatement.

Carolina Beverage has told the city it intends to sign a 15-year lease with two 10-year options. It's also considering Oklahoma as a site, the company has told the city.

Council is scheduled to vote May 7 on the tax abatement agreement

Scott Nishimura, (817) 390-7808

Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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