Online retailer Amazon.com has leased 67 acres in the thriving Alliance development in Haslet near Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
According to court records obtained by theFort Worth Business Press, the Seattle company has signed a 15-year lease from Westport Park No. 7 Ltd., a Texas limited partnership by Hillwood Alliance Management LP.
Amazon.com did not return calls seeking comment, and Tom Harris, senior vice president of operations with Hillwood, declined to discuss the deal.
The retail giant has been scouting potential sites for months, reportedly considering Alliance and the city of Coppell, where Hillwood also owns land. The Haslet tract is near the 700 block of Westport Parkway.
Whether Amazon.com sought tax incentives from the city of Haslet could not be confirmed, but a Fort Worth official called the lease good news for the region.
“I knew that they were looking at some property in the general area, but wasn’t aware of the exact location,” said Robert Sturns, Fort Worth’s economic development manager. “That’s some good news to hear.”
An area economic analyst agreed.
“Amazon’s decision to locate a new distribution center at Alliance is continuing proof that North Texas is among the best places for logistics activities in the nation,” said Terry Clower, director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas.
Though the site has ample space for a distribution center, Amazon.com officials were not available to confirm its specific use.
Central location, transportation infrastructure and developments such as Alliance give the North Texas region a competitive edge, Clower said.
“Amazon’s high profile will help attract other retail distribution activities in North Texas while providing new job opportunities and ancillary business activities,” Clower said.
At the Nov. 19 Haslet City Council meeting, Hillwood executive Russell Laughlin mentioned a company interested in a tract of land matching the description in the aforementioned county court document confirming the Amazon.com lease. Russell declined to reveal the company’s name at the council meeting, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but said the site would house an e-commerce sales center in a 1.1 million square foot building.
In November, Amazon.com secured a tax abatement agreement with the city of Schertz in Guadalupe County in confirming plans for a $166-million distribution warehouse.
But some of the company’s other experiences in Texas have been rocky. It received a $269-million tax bill from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in September 2011 before reaching an agreement to start collecting state sales taxes, a practice that the company had fought to avoid.
The dispute prompted the company’s decision to shutter an Irving distribution center, but the subsequent agreement saw it promise to create 2,500 jobs and $200 million in capital investments in the next four years.
The company, launched in 1995 and grown into a Fortune 500 powerhouse, enjoyed third-quarter 2012 sales growth of 27 percent, reaching $13.8 billion in net sales compared to $10.8 billion in third-quarter 2011.
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