Council considers ‘sweet’ tax deal to retain food company

The Fort Worth City Council at its work session on Nov. 15 heard a presentation from the economic development department proposing a tax abatement agreement with Parker Products, which makes ingredients used in foods and drinks.

The plan calls for consolidating corporate operations on 11 acres at the northwest corner of Loop 820 and Strawn Lane. Parker Products features baking, dairy, beverage, confectionary and more. The 85,000-square-foot facility would include warehouse space, corporate offices, research and development areas and manufacturing space. 

Parker Products was founded in Fort Worth in 1926 by I.C. Parker, creator of the “Drumstick” novelty ice cream treat. The company makes confectionary ingredients used in foods and beverages. Among the products are pralines, candy coatings, clusters, liquid flavors and candies. Customers include Starbucks and Dot Foods.

Tax abatement programs reduce or eliminate the amount of property tax owners pay on new construction, rehabilitation and/or major improvements. The savings can be substantial, and often an incentive for a company to move or stay in a certain location.

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“This is another retention project for us where a local company is looking at consolidating and expansion opportunities, and we are facing competition from Oklahoma,” Fort Worth Director of Economic Development Robert Sturns said.

“We are looking to keep approximately 100 jobs that could grow to 200 over the next several years,” he said. “They are making some strong commitments to Fort Worth hiring, and the jobs pay well, so this was a key part of our analysis in looking at the deal and structuring an incentive agreement.”

According to the presentation, Parker Products has committed to invest $17.5 million in real and business personal property investment by the end of 2017 in the project. The company would retain 100 full-time employees and create 30 new full-time jobs as part of the consolidation. Development officials are proposing a 10-year, 50 percent tax abatement on real and business personal property, valued at $639,000. Council will consider the proposal on Dec. 13.