A. Lee Graham email@example.com FORT WORTH – A month after announcing a possible second Fort Worth e-commerce fulfillment center, Wal-Mart has scrapped those plans. “Wal-Mart has decided not to proceed with this project at this time,” City Manager Tom Higgins announced at the Dec. 10 city council meeting. The retail giant had considered 57 acres near Fort Worth Alliance Airport for the facility, which would have been its second Cowtown location. A company representative was not available to explain the firm’s apparent about-face. “It wasn’t an issue with the city or the site itself,” said Robert Sturns, the city’s domestic and international business recruitment manager.
“They had been looking at different locations [outside Fort Worth], too,” Sturns said. At a November council meeting, Sturns outlined tax incentives intended to lure the company to the Alliance Crossing parcel just east of Interstate 35W and Hillwood’s AllianceTexas mixed-use development. With Wal-Mart expecting to exceed $9 billion in online sales this year, the company has made a priority of developing what it calls a “next-generation fulfillment network” to accommodate online sales. Product inventory on the company’s website, walmart.com, grew 35 percent to 40 percent to 2 million items in 2012, with the company requiring bricks-and-mortar fulfillment centers to handle inventory that was expected to double this year.
The city affirmed its faith in Wal-Mart’s economic benefits earlier by agreeing to abate 75 percent, or about $2 million, of city property taxes on the incremental value of a Westport Parkway location in far North Fort Worth and on equipment and other items classified as business personal property for 10 years. The latest proposal would have brought Wal-mart.com USA LLC, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to the Alliance Crossing site through a “380 agreement,” named after Chapter 380 of the Texas local government code allowing rebates of future sales or property taxes.
Wal-mart would have received $3 million over the course of the 15-year agreement term, with Fort Worth gaining $1 million.