It is easy to rattle off a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live — world class museums, the Trinity River trails, the world’s largest honky tonk, Joe T. Garcia’s — to name just a few.
North Texas is also a great place to do business, thanks to a strong and diverse economy and local leaders who have made attracting new employers a high priority.
And North Texas would love do more business — specifically more of Amazon’s business.
The global warehousing and delivery company announced this week that it is planning to open a second headquarters in North America, “HQ2”, that could house as many as 50,000 workers.
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You read that right — 50,000 workers.
We cannot overstate what having HQ2 in DFW would mean for the economy and the job market in our part of the state. In a word: amazing.
But Fort Worth and neighboring Dallas aren’t the only cities that will be wooing the multi-billion dollar, Seattle-based company.
The bidding war has begun and already the competition is stiff.
Since Amazon is asking local governments to submit one proposal per metropolitan statistical area, Dallas-Fort Worth would initially present a proposal for the region, and DFW has a strong case to make.
Amazon is looking to locate in an area with at least one-million residents. Check. DFW is home to more than 7.1 million people.
The company also wants on-site access to mass transit, a commute of 45 minutes or less to an international airport, easy access to a major highway or arterial road and room to expand up to 8 million square feet in the next decade. Check.
Have they seen DFW Airport?
And with the pending expansion of passenger rail between the downtowns of Fort Worth and Dallas, transit should improve. Check.
North Texas has a diverse population and labor force, and an impressive list of colleges and universities — including Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas, to name a few — that would provide a pool of well-educated employees to fill tech and business jobs. Check.
Attracting a business like Amazon would require significant tax abatements and subsidies, and city and local leaders would have to reassure the tax-base that any such costs would be returned to the region in the form of economic growth.
And city leaders would have to ensure that affordable housing is available not only for potential newcomers but for current residents who already are getting priced out of homes thanks to the booming real estate market.
Even with these caveats, the benefits of bringing Amazon to DFW would certainly outweigh the costs.
Amazon, we’re ready. You’re welcome any time.