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Uber Sticks Out its Hand, Dallas Fills It With Incentive Cash

Dallas didn't get left at the altar this time. After nine months of licking its Amazon-inflicted wounds, the city landed its own big-tech big fish, thanks to nearly $36 million in economic incentives from the city, county and state.

Tuesday, Dallas County Commissioners approved the final piece of the incentive package, agreeing to give up nearly $3 million in tax revenue over a 10-year period to lure Uber to Deep Ellum. The Dallas City Council signed off on more than $9 million in job-based incentives last week, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office confirmed on Thursday that the state is kicking in a $24 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant.

In exchange, Uber plans to fill 450,000 square feet of office space in the yet-to-be-completed Epic development in Deep Ellum, as well as creating as many as 3,000 new jobs in Dallas.

Abbott credited Texas' pro-business climate for encouraging the move.

“I am proud to welcome Uber’s investment in the great state of Texas, along with the 3,000 jobs the company will bring to its new Dallas office,” the governor said. “This investment will bolster Texas’ continued economic success and reputation as the best state for business. Our unrivaled workforce and business-friendly environment makes Texas the perfect home for innovative companies like Uber.”

Earlier this month, Uber revealed that it suffered its biggest-ever loss during the second quarter of 2019 — $5.2 billion. Nevertheless, the company is on its way to the black, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told analysts after announcing the loss, according to Business Insider .

"The big picture is we want to be there any way you want to get around your city, and I think we're well on a path to do so in a profitable way," Khosrowshahi said.

Khosrowshahi played up Uber's long-standing ties to Dallas in a joint announcement with Abbott.

“Dallas became the first city in Texas where the Uber app was available in 2012, and since then Texas has been a hub of innovation for our platform,” Khosrowshahi said. “Uber is excited to bring this major investment to Texas and to increase our commitment to the city of Dallas. We are grateful for our partnership with Governor Abbott, Mayor Johnson and Judge Jenkins and their leadership in making this a reality.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the incentive deal will work out for the city, and Uber.

"Dallas is a vibrant, diverse, welcoming and innovative city, and I’m certain Uber and its employees will flourish here," Johnson said. 

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