Mayor Betsy Price at the State of the City address. Photo by Bruce Maxwell
A. Lee Graham firstname.lastname@example.org
PennyMac Financial Services Inc. helped make the 11th annual State of the City Address especially celebratory with news that the California-based mortgage lender will bring 600 jobs to Fort Worth. “We’re delighted to have you here from California, and you’re helping grow this great city,” said Mayor Betsy Price, drawing applause from the 1,250 community and business leaders attending the Feb. 13 event at Fort Worth Convention Center. A city economic development executive lauded the move. “This is another huge win for the city of Fort Worth,” said David Berzina, executive vice president of economic development with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “PennyMac’s expansion into Fort Worth means news, competitive jobs and increased tax revenues for the city,” Berzina said. Based in Moorpark, Calif., PennyMac has offices in Texas and Florida, with satellite offices in California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Nevada.
A PennyMac executive commended Cowtown as its latest company location. “We are confident that Fort Worth and the surrounding region has an ample, skilled workforce,” said Tim Nicholson, the company’s executive vice president of servicing, in a news release. “This talent pipeline is essential to our successful business operations,” Nicholson said. The company leased 73,000 square feet at CentrePort business park, 14800 Trinity Blvd., occupying the space last year. The company said it will use the location to service its growing loan portfolio. PennyMac’s news capped a particularly strong year for Fort Worth economic development, Price said. “In 2013, they also brought 12 major deals with 6,800 new jobs to Fort Worth,” said Price, referring to Fort Worth Chamber President Bill Thornton and Berzina for helping broker those deals. That pumped $430 million in capital investment into the city’s economy.
Real estate proved equally strong in 2013, with Price reporting 10,500 commercial and residential permits issued, almost $2.5 billion in commercial and residential construction and existing home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth up 17 percent from the previous year. “And Walsh Ranch is on track to bring 14,000 homes to the west side of Fort Worth for 38,000 individuals,” Price said. The year also saw the Amazon.com and Walmart e-commerce distribution centers announced for Alliance, as well. Not missing an opportunity to lobby support for the city’s $292 million bond proposal, Price urged residents to support the package when it goes before voters on May 10. Almost two years of public input and passionate debate ended in February when the City Council approved a bond package focused mainly on public parks, streets and sidewalks. Officials have stressed that projects in the package would be funded without increasing taxes. Mobility also took a front seat in Price’s address, reminding folks that Chisholm Trail Parkway is scheduled to open by May, creating a 27.6-mile conduit from Cowtown’s business district to U.S. 67 in Cleburne. But the mayor drew a few groans on announcing yet more freeway construction; namely, Interstate 35W widening that begins later this year between downtown and North Loop 820. “It begins in the fall and will, hopefully, be done in spring 2018,” Price said. “Fort Worth is the place to live, it’s the place to work, and it’s the place to be.”