Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

After XTO, who are downtown Fort Worth’s biggest employers?

Where the jobs are in downtown Fort Worth

XTO Energy is the biggest private employer in downtown Fort Worth, but now it's planning to move 1,600 jobs to an Exxon campus in Houston over the next three years. So who are the other big employers downtown? You might be surprised.
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XTO Energy is the biggest private employer in downtown Fort Worth, but now it's planning to move 1,600 jobs to an Exxon campus in Houston over the next three years. So who are the other big employers downtown? You might be surprised.

XTO Energy’s announcement that it will move 1,600 jobs from Fort Worth to an Exxon Mobil campus in Houston left us wondering: Just who are the other big employers in downtown Fort Worth?

XTO, by far, has been the central city’s biggest private employer in recent years with about 2,000 workers in six buildings. The homegrown oil and gas company, purchased by Exxon in 2010, gradually took the top spot as RadioShack steadily downsized over the past decade.

In recent years, downtown Fort Worth has become a bit less corporate as more hotels, restaurants and residents have entered the mix. But many big companies still have a presence.

Behind XTO, the largest downtown employer is most likely GM Financial, the auto loan financer, which has almost 900 employees at its Burnett Plaza headquarters, according to an informal survey we conducted last week.

Home furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports is close behind, with 873 employees at its office tower just west of downtown along the Trinity River.

Oncor Electric, the utility that maintains our power transmission lines, has almost 500 employees and Jacobs, the engineering firm that bought Carter Burgess and relocated its headquarters from California to Dallas, has about 350 employees at 777 Main.

According to Downtown Fort Worth Inc., approximately 37,366 private employees work downtown. Add in government and nonprofit workers, that number swells to 46,215.

On the public side, Tarrant County has the most downtown employees downtown with 2,600 full-time and temporary workers, while the city of Fort Worth has more than 2,300 at City Hall and adjacent offices.

Residents lasso arena bonds

Several Fort Worth residents and a person in Los Angeles were among 73 people who bought bonds in the city’s first-ever public offering to individuals.

Recently, Fort Worth residents and others in Texas were given the chance to buy tax-exempt and taxable city bonds issued on the $540 million multipurpose Dickies Arena under construction at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Dickies Arena
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $450 million multipurpose arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center was held in April. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

Aaron Bovos, the city’s chief financial officer, said officials were pleased with the participation.

The city’s participation in the project is capped at $225 million, but it issued $240 million in bonds to pay for some other projects at the Will Rogers.

In all, the individual investors bought up $4.84 million. The remainder went to institutional investors.

On the tax-exempt bonds, which will yield 4 percent interest, 58 investors bought $3.82 million worth of bonds.

Of those, 38 investors were from Fort Worth, and 20 orders came from residents in Arlington, Azle, Cleburne, Colleyville, Dallas, Denton, Hurst, Kerrville, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Tyler and Waco.

On the taxable bonds, which will pay 4.1 percent interest, 15 transactions totaling $1.02 million were taken, including 11 from Fort Worth residents and three orders from Plano and Keller citizens.

One buyer from Los Angeles bought $500,000 in bonds.

The bonds were sold to the public investors in $5,000 increments, and were capped at $500,000.

Event Facilities Fort Worth is the city’s private partner on the project. The group is overseeing construction and its operations.

The arena is scheduled to open in November 2019. Sandra Baker

GameStop’s latest sale

GameStop made another move last week in its quest to move beyond video games by selling Kongregate, a digital gaming publisher and developer it acquired in 2010.

MTG, a Swedish digital entertainment group, said it paid $55 million for the San Francisco-based company.

Founded in 2006, Kongregate attracts 14 million users each month with more than 100,000 games in its browser. MTG said it is expected to generate at least $50 million in sales in 2017.

Grapevine-based GameStop, the nation’s top video game retailer, has been diversifying in recent years as digital downloads have eaten into its video game sales. It has acquired hundreds of AT&T Wireless stores and expanded into toys and collectibles tied to video games and other entertainment.

“We believe the sale of Kongregate to MTG is good for both Kongregate and (GameStop),” GameStop spokesman Joey Mooring said in an email.

“It allows Kongregate to receive additional investment they need to continue to grow and thrive in their market segment. It allows us to use the proceeds from the acquisition in shareholder friendly ways,” Mooring said.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

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