Kubota moving headquarters to Grapevine

Kubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Credit Corp. will move their headquarter to Grapevine from Torrance, Calif. by 2017.
Kubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Credit Corp. will move their headquarter to Grapevine from Torrance, Calif. by 2017. Sacramento Bee

Kubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Credit Corp. will move their headquarters from Torrance, Calif., to a 25-acre site northeast of Grapevine Mills mall on city-owned property, the company said Thursday.

The companies, subsidiaries of Kubota Corp. in Osaka, Japan, are under contract to buy the property from Grapevine, where they plan a 200,000-square-foot research and development and corporate center, said Bob Farley, the city’s economic development director.

Initially, 345 jobs will be created, Farley said. “Clearly they have hopes of making additional expansions,” he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the Texas Enterprise Fund has offered a $3.8 million grant toward the $51 million project. It’s the first time Abbott has used the controversial fund since he took office in January.

The company said the move will affect 180 employees in California, all of whom will be offered positions at the new facilities.

Kubota said it will move to Grapevine in phases and wants to finish the relocation in about 18 months. It’s part of a restructuring to strengthen the Kubota brand in the U.S., the company said.

“This is the most significant change we have undertaken during our long and successful history in the U.S., and there was much thought, deliberation and consideration that went into our decision,” Masato Yoshikawa, Kubota Tractor’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“California has been good to us, but it makes better business sense for us to be centrally located, and we look forward to achieving added operational efficiencies with this move.”

Abbott said in a statement that the state grant will “allow their company to grow, prosper and create even more jobs in the coming years.”

The enterprise fund and others like it have been plagued by reports of cronyism and mismanagement, leading some lawmakers to call for abolishing them. Abbott has said the state’s economic incentive programs need reform.

Palmeiro’s former land

The land is part of 185 acres formerly owned by ex-Texas Rangers player Rafael Palmeiro that the city bought in late 2013. It is at Texas 121, Grapevine Mills Boulevard and Grapevine Mills Parkway.

The headquarters move will put Kubota’s executives and professional staff closer to its major markets and its manufacturing, assembly and distribution facilities in Georgia and Kansas. Being in Texas will help Kubota respond faster to market and industry changes, the company said.

This is Kubota’s second announcement of a new location in less than six months. In December, it said it was opening a 450,000-square-foot parts distribution center in Edgerton, Kan., to streamline its operations.

The new headquarters will initially accommodate 400 employees, with room to expand, the company said. About 100 employees in Kubota’s finance business in Fort Worth’s CentrePort business park will also move there, the company said.

Construction will begin this year and is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2017.

Third relocation

Grapevine and the Dallas Regional Chamber partnered with the governor’s office to bring about state and local support for Kubota’s relocation.

“Kubota’s history and products complement the heritage of our community, and this partnership marks an important milestone in the continued development of the city of Grapevine,” Mayor William D. Tate said.

At one time, Kubota operated an assembly plant in CentrePort, just south of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

This is the third major corporate relocation to North Texas from Torrance. Farmer Bros. Coffee recently said it was moving to Northlake, and Toyota is moving to Plano.

Kubota Tractor is the U.S. marketer and distributor of Kubota-engineered and -made machinery and equipment, performance-matched implements, compact and utility-class construction equipment, consumer lawn and garden equipment, hay tools and spreaders, commercial turf products and utility vehicles.

This report includes material from The Texas Tribune.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST