In May the city of Grapevine completed a deal with Kubota Tractor Corp. for the company to relocate its headquarters from Torrance, California, to Grapevine, making the company the first to build on the city’s last large-scale tract of land.
The new headquarters will occupy approximately 20 to 25 acres of 185 acres on the city’s last major land parcel, which was obtained from former Texas Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro in 2013. The tract of land is north of Grapevine Mills and fronts SH 121, Grapevine Mills Parkway and Grapevine Mills Boulevard. The city purchased the land for $29.5 million and has been working with a national consulting firm to help develop the land in hopes of attracting hotels, family entertainment, retail, industrial and corporate companies.
Grapevine Economic Development Director Bob Farley, who was hired to oversee development on the land, said Kubota’s relocation will help the city better compete with surrounding cities such as Frisco.
“You’re always excited when you have a headquarters coming in,” he said. “That’s always at the high end of the food chain when it comes to the types of investments that go into a market. Dallas has obviously done well with attracting those kind of things, but having a full corporate campus is relatively new for us because a lot of it is going north on the tollway to Dallas. It’s nice to be part of that game now.”
KTC president and CEO Masato Yoshikawa said moving Kubota’s headquarters to Texas will put Kubota’s leadership and professional staff closer to Kubota’s major markets and its manufacturing, assembly and distribution facilities in Georgia and Kansas.
“California has been good to us, but it makes better business sense for us to be centrally located, and we look forward to achieving added operational efficiencies with this move,” he said.
The headquarters is estimated to be 190,000 square feet and will be large enough to initially accommodate 400 employees with room to expand.
Employees at the company’s headquarters have been offered an option to relocate once the new headquarters is complete in the first quarter of 2017. Employees at Kubota Credit Corp. in Fort Worth will relocate as well. Kubota’s relocation is projected to create at least 344 new jobs and $51 million in capital investment in the state of Texas. Construction is expected to begin this year.
Sealing the deal
The city of Grapevine and the Dallas Regional Chamber partnered with Gov. Greg Abbott to facilitate state and local support for Kubota’s relocation.
As an incentive to help attract Kubota to Grapevine, Farley said the city applied for a Texas Enterprise Fund grant. The TEF was created by the Texas Legislature in 2003 to help attract new companies to Texas and create more jobs throughout the state. The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House must approve the project in order for it to receive TEF funds. Grapevine’s application was approved, and a TEF offer of $3.8 million was extended to Kubota.
Farley said besides the financial incentive, he believes Grapevine’s location helped attract Kubota.
“Because they are international and do so much global activity as well, the airport proximity was clearly high on their list,” he said. “Obviously you can get to DFW [International Airport] from anywhere but to be five minutes away is a big advantage if you are flying a lot of people in and out. The other thing that you can do here is that you can access all parts of the labor market. We are kind of in a center sweet spot relative to the rest of the metropolitan area.”
Attracting other headquarters
Matt Hodges, GameStop vice president of investor relations and public relations, said Grapevine’s location played a major part in the company relocating.
“Grapevine has many great attributes,” he said. “Many of our employees choose to live in Grapevine because of its good schools, safe neighborhoods, church communities, dining and entertainment options, and more. Being in the center of the Metro- plex makes it easy for our employees to commute. And the proximity to the airport for business travel is a major plus.”
Other companies such as Smart Start relocated their headquarters to Grapevine for more space.
“Smart Start required us to move our corporate office after we grew too large for our previous location in Irving,” said Brandy Robinson, Smart Start interactive marketing specialist. “Grapevine gave us the space to expand and the opportunity to grow.”