Spurned By Amazon, Dallas Offers Dowry to Uber

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Dallas, despite having been bitten by Amazon, isn't shying away from the latest tech giant to bat its eyes at the city. Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas City Council approved throwing itself at Uber's feet, to the tune of more than $9 million in hopes that the ride-sharing company will plant its new headquarters in Deep Ellum.

The incentive package, which calls for the city to give Uber a property tax abatement, a $350,000-per-year economic development grant for 10 years and $2,000 per full-time job the company creates in Dallas through 2023, passed the council without a debate. Dallas County will consider additional tax incentives for Uber at a commissioner's court meeting next week.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, apparently confident of the incentives getting approved, had some comments ready to go.

“I am thrilled for Dallas and for Uber Technologies. Uber's expansion will bring thousands of high-paying jobs and a $110 million investment to our city's core, which has long driven our region’s explosive growth,” Johnson said. “The City Council's vote for this competitive economic incentive package illustrates Dallas' continued commitment to innovation and strengthening its workforce. We are looking forward to hopefully welcoming Uber to Dallas very soon.”

Last time, when Dallas was looking forward to hopefully welcoming Amazon's HQ2 to the city, it offered to put out for private shuttles, free dog adoptions, a built-to-suit corporate airplane hangar at Dallas Executive Airport and 2,000 free room nights at the Omni downtown among many other financial incentives. The city's bid still failed, of course, because Amazon likely never had any intention of, you know, actually moving here.

Uber, which did not respond to a request for comment from the Observer, at least appears to have whittled down its options to Phoenix or Dallas, according to reports.

If the company expands to Deep Ellum, it eventually plans to occupy 450,000 square feet of the new Epic Development in the entertainment district. In order to maximize its incentives, Uber must invest at least $50 million in property improvements and create or bring 2,500 full-time jobs or full-time job equivalents to the city. 

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