Facebook was named in a state application for tax exemptions for a nearly $1 billion data center planned for AllianceTexas, tying the social media giant to the Fort Worth project.
Winner Llc., doing business as Ernst Llc., filed for special tax exemptions through the Northwest school district with the state comptroller’s office in mid-May. In the application, the “newly created entity” said that it has not yet filed Texas franchise tax returns but that “in the future, it will be filing as part of a combined group membership with Facebook, Inc.”
The application is the first public document that names Facebook alongside Winner Llc., which won approval for $146.7 million in tax breaks last month from the Fort Worth City Council.
Several other links between Winner Llc. and the social media giant have indicated that the facility would be built for Facebook, but the company has not confirmed the project and is said to be considering a site outside Texas. Facebook officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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Winner Llc. is looking to build up to three 250,000-square-foot buildings on 110 acres at 4901 Alliance Gateway, at the northeast corner of Texas 170 and Park Vista Boulevard. The proposed $750 million project would bring 40 jobs, paying an average of $70,000 annually, according to the city. The company said on its state application that it is committing to pay at least $62,194 per job at the new project.
Northwest school district Superintendent Karen Rue said Monday that she had learned that the company pulled its application for state tax exemptions because it is looking into other state incentives that might be more beneficial.
They “cannot do both,” Rue said.
Kevin Lyons, spokesman for the Texas comptroller’s office, confirmed the application’s withdrawal but said it’s not clear whether Winner Llc. is seeking other incentives through the comptroller’s office.
On May 19, the City Council approved grants on real and business personal property taxes over 20 years totaling $146.7 million, which could become one of the largest incentive deals ever offered by the city.
Last week, the Tarrant County Commissioners Court approved incentives including a 10-year abatement of up to 60 percent of new real and business personal property value for Tarrant County taxes and up to 40 percent for Tarrant County Hospital District taxes. No value was placed on that incentive.
Other state records link Winner Llc. to Facebook. The corporation’s registration with the secretary of state’s office lists an address for the Fenwick & West law firm in Seattle, which represents Facebook, the 11-year-old social networking site that boasts 1.44 billion active users.
And a state construction-related permit filing lists Chicago-based Sheehan Partners Architecture as the design firm for the Fort Worth project. Sheehan Partners designed Facebook’s data centers in Prineville, Ore., and Rutherford, N.C., according to the firm’s website.
Alliance has other data centers, including for Blue Cross Blue Shield; American International Group, or AIG; and Citigroup. In 2010, the council approved $9.4 million in incentives, and Tarrant County $4.6 million, for Blue Cross Blue Shield’s 220,000-square-foot facility, which would be next to the proposed project.
Blue Cross Blue Shield has about 88 employees at the facility, according to an October city report.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727