Wal-Mart considers second e-commerce facility at Alliance

Wal-Mart is looking to the Alliance development for a second e-commerce fulfillment center and is asking the City Council for $2.9 million in incentives to complete the project, which could generate 100 jobs by the end of 2019.

Wal-Mart is looking throughout North Texas, and Fort Worth is not the only candidate, Robert Sturns, the city’s domestic and international business recruitment manager, told council members Tuesday.

“Wal-Mart has been aggressively pursuing the e-fulfillment, the online distribution capacity, at all of their centers,” Sturns said. “This has been a stated growth area for the company. This is a significant deal for us.”

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman in Austin could not be reached for comment on the proposed project. Officials with Hillwood, the developer of Alliance, also declined to comment.

“This is an outstanding deal for this city,” Councilman Dennis Shingleton said. “We just can’t hardly even blink an eye. This is a big deal and a keystone for additional development like this in the Alliance Corridor. I’m very much in favor of this.”

The council will vote on the proposal Dec. 10.

Wal-Mart is considering leasing 57 acres east of Interstate 35W and north of Alliance Gateway. Hillwood would build the $32 million, 850,000-square-foot facility and lease the property to Wal-Mart by June 30, 2015.

Annual sales from the proposed center would be $150 million to $200 million. The city stands to earn about $40 million in sales tax revenue during the 15-year term.

Under the proposed incentive agreement, Fort Worth would abate up to 75 percent of real and business personal property taxes for 15 years, or $2.7 million, as well as waive permit fees valued at $170,700. Wal-Mart would pay $1 million in taxes to the city during the term.

This year, Wal-Mart leased a 788,000-square-foot building at 5300 Westport Parkway and opened an online fulfillment center after receiving a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement on the $30 million project. The facility is expected to bring 400 full-time jobs by the end of 2017.

Under the latest deal, Wal-Mart would agree to spend more than 25 percent of the construction costs, or $6.2 million, with Fort Worth companies and more than 25 percent, or $6.2 million, with Fort Worth minority- and women-owned businesses.

It would also agree to spend more than 55 percent, or $16,500, on supply and service spending with Fort Worth companies and more than 25 percent, or $7,500, with Fort Worth minority- and women-owned businesses.

Wal-Mart would have to hire 80 employees by June 30, 2015, and 100 by Dec. 31, 2019, 40 percent of whom must be Fort Worth residents.

The incentives would be reduced or eliminated if Wal-Mart doesn’t meet the benchmarks.