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The City of Dallas Offered Amazon a $600 Million Incentive Package

The state offered up another $500 million. The city's portion included TIF money, hiring grants, free transit, and comped hotel stays.
By Shawn Shinneman |
Photo by Corbis Images

Dallas put together a $600 million incentive package to lure Amazon, including an estimated $425 million in tax increment financing over 30 years and $100 million toward 10 years of local hiring grants. Paired with state incentives from the Texas Enterprise Fund—which can offer up to $10,000 per job—we could be talking about over $1 billion that the giant internet retailer turned down in favor of Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia.

But those municipalities, too, brought together enormous sums of money for the honor. In performance-based incentives alone, Amazon’s announcement says, the company will get $1.525 billion in New York and $573 million in Virginia. Those are contingent on 25,000 jobs coming to fruition per hub. Add that with other incentives in those cities and Nashville, where the company says it will plant a 5,000-job operations center, and the total reaches about $2.8 billion.

The Dallas Chamber of Commerce said in a note on Tuesday that it believes its incentive package was competitive and that it was indeed in the running until late in the going, as reports indicated.

Dallas’ incentive package has some not-so-obvious inclusions. At a value of about $1 million, the city would have created a concierge-style “Amazon Go Team” to assist with everything from zoning issues to “where to get the best barbecue in town.” Taking a page from Amazon, the staff would’ve been “obsessed with customer service,” says the three-page incentive package.

It would’ve also offered $1.5 million toward “shuttles, pedicabs, courtesy carts, or quick transit solutions for HQ2 employees” in the short-term, while working on longer term transit solutions. And then there are 2,000 free nights at the Omni ($800,000 value) and 100 days of event space ($1 million).

The local hiring grants would’ve been delivered on a sliding scale, based on how many of the Amazon employees lived in Dallas. If at least 25 percent of HQ2 employees would’ve lived in Dallas, it would’ve meant $5 million a year. At least 30 percent would equal $6 million a year, 35 percent would earn $8 million, and anything over 40 percent would get the full $10 million.

There’s also a 10-year business personal property tax abatement (estimated value of $40 million) and neighborhood empowerment zone (estimated value of $5 million). Here’s the full rundown (I’ve uploaded the full document here):

1. City of Dallas “Amazon Go Team” (Estimated Value of $1 million)
2. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reinvestment Zone (Estimated Value of $425 Million)
3. 10 Years of Local Hiring Grants (Value of up to $100 Million)
4. 10-Year Business Personal Property Tax Abatement (Estimated Value of up to $40 million)
5. Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (Estimated Value of up to $5 million)
6. Airport Incentives (Value of up to $25 million)
7. Dallas Prime Transit (Estimated Value of $1.5 Million)
8. 2,000 Free Hotel Room Nights (Estimated Value of $800,000)
9. 100 Days of Event Space (Estimated Value of $1 Million)
10. Welcome to Dallas package (Estimated Value of $700,000)

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