The City of Arlington recently competed with some of the most innovative communities in the country to attract Amazon’s future HQ2 to The American Dream City.Arlington was among the cities from across the Dallas-Fort Worth region who submitted proposals to Amazon last year. Due to the compelling vision Arlington presented, our city advanced in the search process as one of the very select finalists in North Texas asked by Amazon to make an in-person pitch to company executives and provide a site visit for our proposed HQ2 site.While Arlington is no longer moving forward in the selection process, the city is appreciative of the work the Dallas Regional Chamber invested to coordinate the selection process for the region. And, Arlington remains very supportive of our region’s on-going effort to secure HQ2 and its thousands of high-paying new jobs, which will benefit the North Texas region.“We were enthused that our vision for HQ2 caught the attention of Amazon,” said City Manager Trey Yelverton. “The company created a thoughtful selection process. You could clearly see the value Amazon places on community partnerships as well as on the welfare of its employees, the ability to attract and retain qualified workers, and the impact HQ2 would have on the culture of the community.”During this highly competitive process, the City was able to showcase its vision for a repurposed Globe Life Park, home to the Texas Rangers, and how it could connect to the rest of the Entertainment District amenities to provide a dynamic, innovative commercial space. With 1.7 million square feet of existing building space and water, sewer, storm water, power and underground communications infrastructure already in place, Globe Life Park is a prime location to accommodate a corporate headquarters the size of Amazon HQ2.The 200-plus acre site is also ideally located with direct access to four major highways as well as two miles of hike and bike trails that connect to both Downtown and the University of Texas at Arlington. The property, less than eight minutes from DFW International Airport, would also be within walking distance of a proposed future high-speed rail station.“We’re extremely confident that Globe Life Park will find a new life and continue to be a vibrant component of our world-class Entertainment District and anchor our future Central Business District,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “The interest by Amazon and its executives strongly confirms that this site has great economic development potential. It is primed for a continued substantive commercial presence in Arlington. We couldn’t be more excited about its future and the future of our Entertainment District.”As part of its competitive proposal, the City of Arlington offered Amazon performance-based incentives, which were consistent with the tools used on other City of Arlington economic development projects, valued at a projected $921 million. This included:
- A grant for Amazon’s hiring of Arlington residents
- 100 percent real and business personal property tax abatement for a 10-year period
- Waiver of building and impact fees
- A land and infrastructure grant to assist with redeveloping the site that includes a structured parking partnership
- Creation of a Municipal Management District (MMD)
The size of the performance-based incentive package directly correlated to the size of the investment being proposed by Amazon and would have only been fully implemented had Amazon fulfilled its commitment to invest $5 billion and create 50,000 high-paying jobs in Arlington. The expenses for the project would come from the revenue generated by the Amazon investment. The long-term economic impact of the headquarters and its job creation would have been transformative for our community.
Our 10-year economic model indicated this project could bring 96,000-plus permanent jobs, almost $50 billion in salaries and wages and almost $4 billion in taxable sales.
The Arlington City Council has established “Investing in Our Economy” as a priority. Arlington is always looking for innovative ways to grow our tax base. Time and time again, whether it’s convincing GM to build an assembly plant or recruiting a MLB team to Arlington, we are the place where dreams become reality.
The business-friendly environment we have fostered here to attract and retain companies big and small has not only resulted in good-paying job opportunities for our skilled work force, it has also boosted crucial property and sales tax revenue streams that help pay for the valuable city services that our residents, visitors and business community expect.Arlington is a city on the move, as evidenced by the recent Dallas Business Journal awards where Arlington was honored with the “Best Real Estate Deal” of 2017. The momentum the city has developed will create even more opportunities in the years to come to repurpose Globe Life Park and continue to positively grow Arlington’s economy.