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Dallas Could Give Incentives To Keep Business In City Limits

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas City Hall is poised to offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives to lure businesses here or keep them, and it appears to be paying off.

"I think it's a good deal for taxpayer," says John Crawford of Downtown Dallas, Inc. of a proposed deal with Borden Dairy Company. He is pleased it appears Elsie the Cow will bed down in Big D awhile longer.

The Dallas City Council is being asked to approve a $100,000 grant to Borden Dairy to stay.  Borden wants to expand beyond its Central Expressway home and could go to the suburbs for lower utility rates.

The Dallas grant offsets those costs and requires Borden to add local jobs.  "That's 100 we keep and at least 100 (new hires) down the road," says Crawford.   The city believes it should make back more than four times its investment even before ripple effects set in.

Karl Zavitkovsky is the economic director for the city of Dallas.

"There's a substantial benefit to the taxpayers," he says, adding, "I think the benefit is $440,000 net fiscal impact over a ten year period.  So they're paying their way."

Crawford is optimistic.  "New people coming here are buying homes, they're using DART, they're spending dollars and we get sales tax, so, yeah, it's pretty successful in the scheme of things"

Then there's the intrinsic value of image when you get a national brand and you look on the label and it says, 'Dallas, Texas.'

And Downtown Dallas was the draw for another company: PFSweb builds and operates websites for major retailers and wants to develop an expanded call center – and 600 more jobs – at Renaissance Tower downtown.

The city is dangling a $300,000 grant.  "We've got over 5 million square feet of vacant space in the Central Business District, so it's very important for us to be able to fill that space," says Zavitkovsky.

Space to grow and infrastructure support was what attracted the Plano company, according to Mark Layton, the company's chairman and CEO.  "A lot of these are new jobs.  A lot of the people we employ in our facilities are coming to us, they were unemployed previously."

Over time it's estimated the total benefits for the city and its taxpayers could run nearly half-a-billion dollars.

Layton explains his company's contributions.  "The whole growth of the e-commerce industry and the things exploding from e-commerce retailing out there is really allowing people to be re-deployed from other career areas and into the e-commerce channel."

"There's a lot of people out there knocking at the door trying to take what we have, and at the same time we're reaching out trying to bring new jobs into the city," adds Downtown Dallas, Inc.'s Crawford.

While negotiations are close, neither of them is a "done deal."   Dallas city council is set to vote on the grants at next week's meeting.

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