The pros and cons of a North Texas Amazon headquarters
The pros and cons of a North Texas Amazon headquarters

Northeast Tarrant

Dozens of DFW sites being pitched for Amazon, including one right in the middle

By Gordon Dickson

gdickson@star-telegram.com

October 03, 2017 4:33 PM

Just north of Dallas Fort Worth Airport sits about 800 acres of undeveloped land that Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate thinks would be an excellent site for Amazon’s new $5 billion headquarters.

The property, located between Texas 121 and Texas 26 south of Bass Pro Drive, is part of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, in an area where the Gaylord Texan and Great Wolf Lodge resorts already draw large crowds for business and pleasure.

“It has access to commuter rail, mass transit, nine area highways and easy access to the airport,” said Tate, noting that the land would be adjacent to the planned TEX Rail commuter line expected to open in late 2018.

The Grapevine site is one of several dozen in North Texas being pitched by local leaders for Seattle-based Amazon, which is looking for a place to build a second headquarters for as many as 50,000 employees.

Metroplex cities had until Friday to submit their sites to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is gathering the information and coordinating the region’s bid. The Dallas chamber will work with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce to assess the possible sites and put together a bid for the area, due to Amazon by Oct. 19.

Dallas-Fort Worth will be competing with dozens of cities from across North America, all trying to land what’s seen as the economic development prize of the century.

In North Texas, cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving have expressed interest in the project. According to the Dallas Business Journal, as many as 12 area cities have offered sites.

Fort Worth has identified eight possible sites within its boundaries, including the Panther Island development north of downtown, which was made public at a recent city council meeting. Other locations have not been identified.

Some of the Fort Worth sites lack mass transit, which is one of Amazon’s criterion. The company also wants access to a diverse workforce, proximity to good colleges and incentives from local government.

“Only a handful of locations are meeting all of the specific requirements,” said Robert Sturns, Fort Worth economic development director.

In Grapevine, Tate noted that the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, which joined to build DFW Airport in the 1960s and still control the vacant land in question, could enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with Grapevine to split tax proceeds from an Amazon deal.

“It could be the right deal, coming at the right time,” Tate said, sounding ready to move beyond years of acrimony between the cities over how to split airport revenues.

A worker stores items in the pick pods in 2015 at Amazon's Fulfillment Center in Haslet. The online retailer is looking for a place to build a second headquarters, and North Texas cities are lining up to be considered.
Juan Guajardo Star-Telegram

In Arlington, officials said at least one site is being pitched, but declined to elaborate.

In Dallas, pitches are being made to build Amazon a new place at Victory Park near the American Airlines Center, Exposition Park, North Oak Cliff and even at the nearly-empty Valley View Mall.

Nearby, the University of Texas at Dallas is offering Amazon 100 acres near its Richardson campus, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Frisco officials have even created a video to pitch their city — reportedly with six candidate locations in their limits.

And Denton has received kudos for its social media campaign — #HQ2DentonTX — to get Amazon to look north of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Denton is bidding on HQ2 - aka the new @amazon HQ! Let's show off #Dentoning in style - tell us what you LOVE about Denton w/ #HQ2DentonTX! pic.twitter.com/goVxFvCRNz

— Denton CVB (@DiscoverDenton) September 21, 2017

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson

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