Frisco, Texas Mayor Jeff Cheney Makes His Case for Amazon’s HQ2

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Texas Cities Won’t Disclose How Much Taxpayer Money They’ve Offered Amazon

Texas Cities Won’t Disclose How Much Taxpayer Money They’ve Offered Amazon

Amazon has asked for tax breaks and public subsidies, but Texas cities are refusing to make their proposals public.
Illustration by Emily Kimbro

Amazon’s much-anticipated second headquarters, HQ2, has led to a nationwide bidding war, as 238 cities—including a handful in Texas—submitted bids ahead of the October 18 deadline. With a project that will bring an estimated 50,000 jobs to its new home, the competition should come as no surprise. But those jobs won’t come cheap.

Amazon asked cities to outline possible incentive packages in their bids, and it’s likely that the winning city will give the tech giant billions in taxpayer dollars. Texas residents might want to know that number: After all, their cities are offering taxpayer funds as a bargaining chip for the online retail giant. But when asked by Texas Monthly, the cities or economic development organizations in charge of submitting local proposals for HQ2 in Texas were unwilling to share their bids, including information on how much they may be offering Amazon in any publicly-funded incentives.

Nearly all of Texas’s major cities have submitted bids for HQ2, from major cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin to the smaller El Paso, Frisco, and Milam County (a joint bid from Rockdale and Cameron). Texas Monthly contacted every city in the state that publicly submitted a bid. In each case, representatives from the city or the local business development organizations declined to provide copies of their proposal or details of the tax plan.

Dallas-Fort Worth:

“As is normally the case when submitting a regional response to an economic development opportunity, we have committed to responding cities that the DRC will not make the response public,” said Darren Grubbs, a spokesperson for the Dallas Regional Chamber, which worked with the Dallas-Fort Worth area to submit a bid. “I can tell you that we were diligent and comprehensive in answering each of the questions outlined in the RFP [Request For Proposal] to provide all the data and information that was requested. The incentive proposals of individual cities are not for the DRC to disclose.”

Houston:

“I am not able to share a copy of the proposal,” Clint Pasche, spokesman for the Greater Houston Partnership, said in an email. The Greater Houston Partnership, which coordinated the bid proposal, is the region’s designated economic development organization. “The specifics of our proposal are confidential but it does contain a competitive package of local and state incentives. These incentives are still subject to the appropriate approval processes that were described to Amazon in the proposal.” Pasche also said that signing a non-disclosure agreement with Amazon was a condition of submitting their bid.

Austin:

“Sorry to say that the bid and details are confidential,” Mike Berman, spokesman for the Greater Austin Chamber, said. “This is customary practice for economic development projects, especially when the Greater Austin Chamber coordinates a response for the region, so the information and details are not publicly shared.” Berman also said that language asking for confidentiality was in Amazon’s RFP. “It’s common practice, especially at this beginning stage of the process, in economic development,” Berman said of bid proposals being kept from the public. (Austin officials later revealed that no local economic incentives were included in the city’s bid.)

Milam County:

“The writen [sic] proposal and website is proprietary only to Amazom [sic] at this time,” Kara Clore, director of the Rockdale Municipal Development District, said in an email. “Milam County did include the potential for phased in ad valorem tax abatement as well as Chapter 313 incentives.” When asked how the written proposal was proprietary to Amazon, Clore responded, “our policy is that each proposal is unique to a project. We do not publish proposals as they are preliminary. Once a project moves further in the process then aspects of a proposal become public as they are negotiated with the governing entities.”

Frisco:

Catherine Ross, a spokesperson for Frisco, wrote in an email that “it is not our practice to comment on the specifics of any potential economic development projects.”

El Paso:

A spokesman for El Paso’s Borderplex Alliance also said the proposal could not be released to the public. Jon Barela, the CEO of Borderplex Alliance, wouldn’t even reveal to the El Paso Times the proposal’s page count. “In the economic development business, responses to proposals almost universally are confidential until a company takes it to the next level for serious discussions,” Barela told the Times.

Many of these cities claim that Amazon’s RFP and NDA agreement forbid the public release of the proposals and incentive offers. But multiple sources have disputed that Amazon stipulated that bids must be kept confidential. (An Amazon representative declined to comment on the record for this story.) Some cities across the country have released their entire HQ2 proposals, including specific outlines detailing incentive plans.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie offered Amazon $7 billion in tax breaks. The state of Georgia is ready to put $1 billion on the table. Maryland is reportedly offering a $2 billion incentive package. Memphis’s city council pre-approved the city’s $60 million cash incentives offer, and Philadelphia’s city council is publicly considering a tax exemption of up to $2 billion over ten years. New York City has made clear that it is not offering a special incentive package as part of its bid, which was released to the public last week. The city of Worcester, Massachusetts, released a detailed proposal outlining its offer of $500 million in tax incentives, while the nearby town of Leominster included 400 acres of public land and $405 in tax breaks. Chula Vista, California, publicly outlined a similar proposal, presenting $400 in incentives.

Multiple sources intimately familiar with the bidding process confirmed that Amazon’s non-disclosure agreement did not prohibit bid-submitters from making their proposals public, and said that if local jurisdictions in Texas want to share information regarding incentive proposals, that’s their choice. (The sources requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the bidding process.)

Eric Crockett, director of economic development for the City of Chula Vista, California, confirmed that Amazon did not prohibit the city from releasing its bid. “There was nothing in the RFP that required confidentially [sic],” Crockett said in an email. “Many jurisdications [sic], including San Diego, have NDAs with Amazon but they are for specific projects, not blanket agreements for all things Amazon, especially when they go public themselves with their request. Bottom line, at least in Cali, is that the proposals are property of the public and should be disclosed.”

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Frisco TX Restaurants – Grab A Burger, Some Barbecue And Tex Mex Cuisine

Frisco TX Restaurants – Grab A Burger, Some Barbecue And Tex Mex Cuisine

If you are familiar with the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, then you probably know about the city of Frisco. Whether you do or not, this is your chance to get acquainted. What better way to do that than to get a good look at where you can enjoy a nice meal. I can help you with that by identifying three of the top restaurants in Frisco TX.

Hutchins BBQ is located on Preston Road, and let me tell you, the ribs and fried okra in the picture I saw look absolutely delicious. This establishment also serves up burnt ends, peach cobbler, pulled pork, broccoli salad and much more. The menu highlights actually show that many people have called this place barbecue heaven. That means that you can expect quite a good meal.

You know you want some Texas barbecue while in Frisco, and now it’s time to enjoy a good burger. Kenny’s Burger Joint is on Legacy Drive, and the place serves up patty melts for starters. There is also something on the menu called a steak bomb, which the reviewers rave about. You will certainly want to order up some loaded fries.

La Hacienda Ranch is on Preston Road just like Hutchins BBQ. La Hacienda Ranch is known for serving up some delicious Mexican food. Frozen margaritas make the menu highlights. I prefer mine on the rocks, but frozen is good, too. Get ready to enjoy fresh tortillas that are made in the restaurant and all kinds of great Tex Mex cuisine. You will be glad that you stopped by this establishment, and don’t forget your burger fix and barbecue fix at the other two popular places in Frisco TX to grab a bite to eat. If you ask me, those three picks are enough to keep you eating good while in the city of Frisco.

Frisco Arts Walk brings art lovers together

Frisco Arts Walk brings art lovers together

Frisco Arts Walk debuted the #iheartfrisco art-theme photo station with Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney, Tammy Meinershagan, executive director of Frisco Arts, and Craig Hall, founder and chairman of HALL Group.

Frisco Association for the Arts (Frisco Arts) presented the Second Annual Frisco Arts Walk on Oct. 7 at HALL Park among the Texas Sculpture Garden, the largest private collection of Texas sculptures ever assembled and made available to the public.

The free, immersive arts experience celebrated Frisco’s citywide art in public spaces program, local nonprofit art organizations and individual artists. A highlight of the day was the Steinway Piano Red Carpet Performances where amateur musicians played on a concert grand Steinway.

The day of art culminated with the world-class UNT One O’Clock Lab Band performing for the first time in Frisco.

During the VIP reception, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney stated the importance of arts in a community and applauded sponsors HALL Park, UNT and AT&T for the ongoing contributions to Frisco Arts.

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Video: Texas man takes to the sky, proposes to fiance during plane ride

A North Texas man is flying high after his girlfriend said yes to his marriage proposal on Sunday while he took her on an airplane ride.

The video shows Nick Cannan, of Frisco, flying a personal airplane while his girlfriend, Kez Beattie, sits next to him.

Cannan had the proposal written on the ground in giant-lettered sign that said, "Kez I (heart symbol) you! Will you marry me?" The video captures her surprise and laughter upon seeing the creative proposal.

GRADE A PROPOSAL: Katy teacher gets marriage proposal in front of her whole school

Beattie accepted the proposal, kissing Cannan mid-flight and later wiping tears from under her sunglasses.

"I’m very happy that I was able to capture this moment that we will be able to cherish forever!" Cannan wrote in a Facebook post the same day. "Also, yes I was very into my gum during this video."

Cannan’s video of the proposal has 6,700 views on Facebook and been liked by more than 350 people.

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Three Texas cities rank among America’s best cities to live in, study says

Three Texas cities rank among America’s best cities to live in, study says

Of the top 50 best cities to live in, three Texas cities top the list.

Of the most livable cities in America, Flower Mound ranked at No. 13, Frisco at No. 16, and Atascocita at No. 21, according to financial news site 24/7 Wall Street.

Low crime, a healthy economy and affordability are among the universally desirable attributes considered to define the “most liveable” cities, but 24/7 Wall Street devised the rankings based on an index of over three dozen socioeconomic measures.

From 24/7 Wall Street:

13. Flower Mound, Texas

• Population: 73,289

• Median home value: $344,300 (top 25%)

• Poverty rate: 4.7% (bottom 10%)

• Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 61.3% (top 10%)

The typical household in Flower Mound, Texas earns about $131,500 annually, the sixth most of any city. After adjusting for the area’s low cost of living, the median income in Flower Mound is the highest of any U.S. city. Just as a large share of area residents are wealthy, very few face serious financial hardship. Fewer than 5% of the city’s population lives in poverty — less than a third of the statewide poverty rate.

Largely financially secure, Flower Mound residents are also generally safe from the threat of violent crime. There were fewer than 50 violent crimes for every 100,000 Flower Mound residents in 2016. In comparison, there were 434 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Texas and 386 per 100,000 people in the United States.

16. Frisco, Texas

• Population: 163,631

• Median home value: $369,900 (top 25%)

• Poverty rate: 4.3% (bottom 10%)

• Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 65.9% (top 10%)

Frisco is a fast-growing suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area and one of the best places to live in the country. Over the past 10 years, Frisco’s population has increased by 73%, the third fastest growth of any city. Frisco is also one of the wealthiest cities in the country and has one of the lowest costs of living. The typical household in Frisco earns $124,829 a year, more than twice the national median household income of $57,617. Adjusted for the area’s low cost of living — goods and services cost 6 cents less on the dollar in Collin County than they do nationwide — Frisco households earn more than any U.S. city other than neighboring Flower Mound.

A third Texas city cracked the top 50 as well: The Houston suburb of Atascocita:

21. Atascocita, Texas

• Population: 72,763

• Median home value: $182,000

• Poverty rate: 4.2% (bottom 10%)

• Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 39.6% (top 25%)

At only 4.2%, the poverty rate in Atascocita, Texas is one of the lowest of any U.S. city. Adults with a college education are less likely than those with lower educational attainment to live in poverty, and 39.6% of adult city residents have a four-year college degree, a far greater share than the 31.3% of American adults.

Well-educated and financially secure, Atascocita’s population also lives in an affordable city. The typical area home costs only 1.9 times the median household income in the area. Nationwide, the median home value is 3.6 times the median household income.

24/7 Wall Street’s most livable cities span the country — from the Deep South to New England and from the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest.

Carmel, Indiana earned the top spot with a population that is “healthy, wealthy, and well educated,” as well as a low cost of living.

The full list of 50 can be seen below. To see 24/7 Wall Street’s summaries for each city, go here.

50. New Rochelle, New York
49. Layton, Utah
48. Appleton, Wisconsin
47. Orem, Utah
46. South Jordan, Utah
45. Springdale, Arkansas
44. Nashua, New Hampshire
43. Bend, Oregon
42. Kirkland, Washington
41. Franklin, Tennessee
40. Clifton, New Jersey
39. Palm Coast, Florida
38. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
37. Beaverton, Oregon
36. Waukesha, Wisconsin
35. Edmond, Oklahoma
34. Danbury, Connecticut
33. Lawrence, Kansas
32. Enterprise, Nevada
31. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
30. Weston, Florida
29. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
28. Eagan, Minnesota
27. Metairie, Louisiana
26. Charlotte, North Carolina
25. Meridian, Idaho
24. Maple Grove, Minnesota
23. Olathe, Kansas
22. The Villages, Florida
21. Atascocita, Texas
20. Woodbury, Minnesota
19. Lee’s Summit, Missouri
18. Waldorf, Maryland
17. Hoover, Alabama
16. Frisco, Texas
15. Arlington, Virginia
14. Rochester Hills, Michigan
13. Flower Mound, Texas
12. Gilbert, Arizona
11. Mission Viejo, California
10. Raleigh, North Carolina
9. Columbia, Maryland
8. O’Fallon, Missouri
7. Naperville, Illinois
6. Dale City, Virginia
5. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
4. Johns Creek, Georgia
3. Arvada, Colorado
2. Centennial, Colorado
1. Carmel, Indiana

© 2017 WFAA-TV

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Del Frisco’s launches new menus, ‘smarter’ marketing to stem slide

Del Frisco’s launches new menus, ‘smarter’ marketing to stem slide

As Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc. heads into the profitable holiday season, the company’s three steakhouse brands are launching new menus and market campaigns, company executives said Friday.

The fourth quarter, with the winter holidays, historically produces 40 percent of earnings for the Southlake, Texas-based steakhouse operator, which includes the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle, Del Frisco’s Grille and Sullivan’s Steakhouse brands.

For the thir

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After Frisco Reedy’s big win last week, the next challenge awaits

/Left photo: Ashley Landis/DMN. Right photo: Steve Hamm/Special contributor

Last week, Frisco Reedy won its battle of unbeatens against Frisco Wakeland. That 35-28 victory impressed the voters in the SportsDay’s area 5A rankings, who moved Reedy from unranked all the way up to No. 9.

Now Reedy, which showed last week that its development is far ahead of the typical second-year varsity program, must make sure it doesn’t get too impressed with itself. Because if the Lions (5-0, 2-0 in District 13-5A) have an emotional letdown Friday, Frisco Heritage is the kind of team that can pull an upset.

Heritage (2-3, 1-1) has played a tough early-season schedule that included Frisco Lone Star (4-1), Grapevine (4-1) and Colleyville Heritage (4-1). The Coyotes can put up a lot of points, and Amare Jones is a potent dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for eight touchdowns and averages 160 yards rushing per game.

Heritage needs a win to move toward the top of the playoff pack in the district, and it also has the motivation of last year. Reedy’s only district victory of 2016 came against Heritage, 38-17.

The Reedy-Heritage game features a great QB matchup with Jones and Reedy’s Josh Foskey, who is having a memorable season. Foskey has completed 91 of 149 passes for 1,272 yards and 15 touchdowns — and he still hasn’t thrown an interception.

Reedy’s defense also made some key plays in the second half against Wakeland, leading to this:

Congrats to @RHSFrisco’s @DominicMccorry for winning @SportsDayHS defensive player of the week! 💻🏈: https://t.co/ON21X9DgUz pic.twitter.com/Xo0fuWk02o

— SportsDayHS (@SportsDayHS) October 10, 2017

Another key 13-5A game this week pits Centennial (2-3, 2-0) against Wakeland (4-1, 1-1). Wakeland wants to get rolling again, while Centennial would like to get another district win before it plays Reedy and Lone Star the next two weeks.

This week’s Frisco ISD games:

Frisco (0-5, 0-2) vs. Independence (3-2, 0-2) 7 p.m. Thu., Ford Center at The Star Heritage (2-3, 1-1) vs. Reedy (5-0, 2-0) 7 p.m. Fri., Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium Liberty (1-4, 0-2) vs. Lone Star (4-1, 2-0) 7 p.m. Fri., Ford Center at The Star Wakeland (4-1, 1-1) vs. Centennial (2-3, 2-0) 7 p.m. Fri., Toyota Stadium

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Frisco Named The Fastest Growing City In The United States! Four Texas Cities Make Top Ten!

Frisco Named The Fastest Growing City In The United States! Four Texas Cities Make Top Ten!

Earlier this year, Frisco was named as the second fastest growing city in the United States in terms of population. Now…we’re number one!

WalletHub just released its list of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and among the FOUR Texas cities that made the top 10, Frisco is number one! The city of Frisco’s economic development arm attributes its ranking to its residents and businesses being drawn because of its top-notch schools, “pristine” parks, and retail, sports, and entertainment destinations.

Frisco’s population in July, 2016 was 164,000, an increase of about 6% from the previous year. Projections have that by around 2035, the population could be close to 375,000 people. WalletHub analyzed 515 U.S. cities across 15 key metrics, measuring data that ranges from population growth to college-educated population growth to unemployment rate decrease.

A ton of Texas, and especially DFW cities made the list of the fastest growing in the United States, which shows that the Lone Star State is CLEARLY the best place to live in the entire country!

5-Midland

6-McKinney

9-Austin

14-Round Rock

25-Allen

26-Pearland

31-League City

57-Irving

58-Denton

64-Richardson

82-Grand Prairie

83-Fort Worth

110-San Antonio

112-Dallas

185-Houston

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Two North Texas cities looking lure Amazon rank among top sites

Two North Texas cities looking lure Amazon rank among top sites

VIEW SLIDESHOW 34 photos

ALBANY: New York’s capital city might not be Amazon’s first thought for its HQ2. But… more

See Correction/Clarification at end of article

A Washington, D.C. magazine has recognized Frisco and Denton for their bids to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to North Texas.

The Washingtonian ranked Frisco fourth and Denton sixth among nine public campaigns for Amazon’s second headquarters. Frisco’s campaign highlighted some of its newest projects, including Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility The Star in Frisco and Jamba Juice’s relocated headquarters. It also featured Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying he caught the "Frisco flu" when building his team’s facility in the northern suburb.

Frisco has submitted a half dozen possible sites for the headquarters, all situated along the Dallas North Tollway. About 40 percent of Frisco is undeveloped, with billions of proposed real estate developments popping up along the DNT surrounding The Star, according to Dallas Business Journal reporting.

"We have a whole menu of options to offer the company from shovel-ready sites to green field to customize a campus," Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney told the DBJ. "We are hungry for a corporate relocation of a Fortune 100 company and we’ve never seen as big of an opportunity as this one."

Denton’s bid uses the hashtag #HQ2DentonTX on the city’s Twitter and Instagram posts. But The Washingtonian questioned whether the hashtag will be enough to bring in the e-commerce giant.

The city who lands the headquarters project stands to gain up to 50,000 direct jobs, an indirect employment boost of 53,000 and $38 billion in economic activity.

Twelve to 14 cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, representing 30 sites, met a deadline Friday to submit individual bids for the headquarters. Some, like Dallas and Frisco, are proposing multiple areas and developments for HQ2.

"In a unique region like ours, we are going to have a lot of great options with different character and advantages because we are such an interesting composite," said Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development for the Dallas Regional Chamber.

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