Tablet Business

Fort Worth picked to be HQ for Chinese wind turbine firm

Chinese-owned NGC Renewables will add a research and development unit to a new wind turbine plant to be built at Alliance in far north Fort Worth. The complex will also serve as NGC’s North American headquarters.

Company officials made the announcement to a North Texas trade delegation visiting China last week. A subsidiary of NGC Transmission, it bought 18.6 acres at Alliance in November 2012 and said at the time it planned to hire about 150 people.

An additional 20 to 30 R&D jobs will be added to the local payroll, but total employment could rise to as many as 300, said David Berzina, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, who was in China for the announcement.

While the company has referred to its Fort Worth site as a corporate headquarters in city documents, NGC President Gou Jianhui told the delegation in a “surprise” announcement that the Fort Worth facility will act as its North American headquarters, according to a press release. Up to now, the U.S. base has been in Los Angeles.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” Berzina said. “If you are going to do business with a foreign company, for them to say that we have enough confidence in your business climate in the city and the state … it is a big deal. There will be more local decisions and more engineers and more research and development” in Fort Worth.

The $96 million, 120,000-square-foot headquarters and factory at U.S. 377 and Texas 170, could be completed by next month, but definitely by year’s end, Berzina said. The company will manufacture, re-manufacture and service gearboxes for wind turbines in Fort Worth.

In 2012, the Fort Worth City Council approved a property tax abatements worth $4.7 million over 10 years. In August, the deadline to have $16 million already invested in the project was extended from June 2014 to June 2015 to allow for delays in delivery of equipment, city records show.

The amendment has not been fully executed by all parties yet, according to a city official.

Staff writer Caty Hirst contributed to this report.