Dallas city leaders, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), confirmed Tuesday that transportation company Uber Technologies has acquired office space in a new Deep Ellum development for as many as 3,000 new high-tech jobs with a $400 million annual payroll.
Uber will move into The Epic, a new development by Westdale Real Estate and Investment on Pacific Avenue in Deep Ellum.
An attorney involved in the deal said future Uber plans also involve at least two other large parcels of land around The Epic for additional office buildings in the coming years, NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff first reported last week. According to attorney Jim DePetris, one of the parcels is the current location of the Lizard Lounge.
"I believe they’ll start moving in some of the Austin people and California people will be coming here, and they’ll be hiring people here as well," DePetris said.
The attorney said Uber's future plan is a five building complex in Deep Ellum.
Westdale, the owner of The Epic, said Uber will occupy a second planned 23-story office tower in the eight-acre mixed-use development as part of the company's campus. A statement from Westdale said Uber will initially bring around 700 employees to the existing office building at the Epic by July 2020.
The area is also a potential station site for a proposed DART subway, a project in development known as D2 that is slated to begin operations in 2024. An existing DART light rail station is already operating near The Epic.
Uber said the U.S. General and Administrative Hub in Dallas will house various corporate functions and is expected to include Uber Elevate, the company's development of autonomous vehicles and flying cars that promise to ferry passengers around North Texas in just minutes.
DePetris said Uber is also considering development near Texas Central's proposed High Speed Rail station near I-30 for a flying car facility.
"It’s very exciting. It’s very modern as Dallas is," DePetris said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Uber’s selection of Dallas spotlights the county’s position as a premier talent market for companies looking to expand. Jenkins added Uber’s move into Dallas will "provide a huge boost to our urban core with a positive wave that will spread across our entire county and region."
"The numbers that make up this investment package add up to a win for Uber Technologies and for the City of Dallas. But beyond the math, Dallas and Uber are just a great match. Dallas is a vibrant, diverse, welcoming, and innovative city, and I'm certain Uber and its employees will flourish here," said Eric Johnson, Mayor of the City of Dallas.
The Dallas City Council last week approved a $9 million incentive package to try to lure Uber to North Texas. The state kicked in $24 million from a Texas Enterprise Fund Grant. Dallas County Commissioners added more Uber incentives Tuesday morning including a 50% abatement of Dallas County taxes and 90% abatement of business personal property taxes for 10 years. The abatements are subject to creating at least 2,500 jobs with a salary of at least $100,000 by January 2023.
"This type of win is a signature win for our city and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that it's actually here in the city of Dallas," Johnson said. "It’s huge. There’s no other way to say it. It’s huge."
The influx of so many well paid employees could increase rent and the cost of living but the Mayor said Uber technology spending and payroll will trickle down through the Dallas economy to benefit everyone. Johnson said Uber's decision is overwhelmingly a net positive for Dallas.
"The incentives are tied to residency in Dallas. This is not a something for nothing deal. This is a very intelligent deal," Johnson said.
Governor Greg Abbott echoed Johnson's conclusion.
"I am proud to welcome Uber's investment in the great state of Texas, along with the 3,000 jobs the company will bring to its new Dallas office," said Abbott. "This investment will bolster Texas' continued economic success and reputation as the best state for business. Our unrivaled workforce and business-friendly environment makes Texas the perfect home for innovative companies like Uber."
The Dallas Regional Chamber said Uber’s selection of Deep Ellum "speaks to the depth of innovation and technology talent that is moving to the Dallas region."
"We've seen the fourth-highest high-tech job growth of any U.S. metro area over the past four years. Uber recognizes that we are committed to recruiting elite tech talent from around the globe, and also preparing our home-grown workforce through expanded focus on rigorous STEM instruction in our high schools and colleges," the chamber said.