With the HQ2 announcement still shining in the distance — Jeff Bezos said earlier this month that it would be made by the end of the year — Dallas got a decent-sized chunk of good Amazon-related news Wednesday. By a 14-0 vote, the City Council signed off on a deal with the company and corporate real-estate giant Hillwood to bring an 855,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center to West Dallas.
For a little more than $2 million in property tax incentives, Dallas is getting quicker shipping times for its online shopping residents, too. As part of a deal negotiated by new District 6 City Council member Omar Narvaez, the retail giant made a series of guarantees about how it will staff the warehouse. Hillwood expects to put about $41 million into building the distribution center, while Amazon expects to spend about $90 million outfitting it, according to city documents.
In exchange for the tax help from the city, Amazon has promised to hire 1,500 full-time employees for the warehouse. Of those, according to Narvaez, 35 percent will be hired from Dallas, a 15 percent bump from the 20 percent local hiring typically guaranteed in these sort of deals. Those hired will be paid a minimum of $13 an hour with an average salary of $15 per hour.
After the vote, Narvaez said that bringing the online behemoth into West Dallas will buoy the economy of an underserved part of the city.
"I want to also thank Amazon and city staff for working with me and listening to the community's needs," Narvaez said on Facebook. "Living wages for this area, which has double the unemployment rate of the city and where a very high percentage of people live in poverty, is and will be a game changer for many working families."
Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston, both of whom strongly opposed a 2016 deal that gave Costco $3 million to build a store in North Dallas, praised Narvaez for using economic incentives the right way to lure the Amazon project to his district.
"Too often we give away economic incentives and receive nothing in return. Too often we are told we are asking too much of developers in exchange for incentives," Griggs said on Facebook. "Great to see the economic incentives tied to local hiring and strong starting wage."
In order to get its cash, Amazon will need to open the warehouse before Dec. 31, 2020.