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Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Culture Food Council Report: Ben E. Keith seeks tax break to expand Carter Industrial...

Council Report: Ben E. Keith seeks tax break to expand Carter Industrial Park facilities

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During its work session Feb.5, the Fort Worth City Council received a proposal from Michael Henning of the economic development department concerning a possible tax abatement with Ben E. Keith Foods.

Established in Fort Worth in 1906, Ben E. Keith Foods is the nation’s eighth largest broad line food service distributor and operates today with eight divisions shipping to 15 states throughout the country.

The company plans to expand its facilities in Carter Industrial Park by 185,000 square feet in its offices and warehouse.

Henning said staff is recommending entering into a seven-year abatement agreement on up to 50 percent of the incremental value of real and business personal property taxes. He also recommended nominating the company as an Enterprise Project under the Texas Enterprise Zone Program (TEZP).

The TEZP is a state sales and use tax refund program designed to encourage private investment and job creation in economically distressed areas of the state.

As its part of the agreement, Ben E. Keith Foods would:

*Make a capital investment of $22 million by Jan. 1, 2022, of which $3 million would be hard costs spent with Fort Worth companies.

*Maintain a minimum of 855 existing full-time employees (FTE)

*Provide a net increase of 283 FTE by Dec. 31, 2025, of which 179 will be in place by Dec. 31, 2023.

*All new FTE must have an average salary of at least $73,000.

*A minimum of 46 net new FTE by 2023 must be Fort Worth residents, including 12 central city.

*A minimum of 85 net new FTE by 2025 must be Fort Worth residents, including 21 central city.

*A minimum of 10 percent of all FTE must be central city.

*Designate a minimum of $900,000 of annual supply to Fort Worth companies for local sales and service.

*Maintain a 15 percent commitment on hard and soft construction costs with qualified with local Minority/Women Business Enterprise companies. Failure to meet or document in good faith will result in a 10 percent reduction of eligible incentive.

Henning said the five-year projection for tax revenue to the city is over $877,000.

Henning suggested the Enterprise Zone nomination, along with a public hearing, take place at the Feb. 12 council meeting. After that, he suggested council vote on the matter.

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