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Fort Worth’s Mission To Attract HQs Scores Another Win

For the third time in five months, a company with an international platform has chosen Fort Worth as the site of its U.S. headquarters. 

Fort Worth skyline

Global electronic component distributor Chip 1 Exchange is moving its U.S. headquarters from Southern California to Fort Worth, where it will occupy a lease-to-build 15K SF building at 701 East Eighth St. 

“With recent company growth, Chip 1 looked at multiple locations when choosing the best fit for expansion,” Chip 1 Exchange Chief Operating Officer Damon Pouya said in a statement. “Based on the economic growth potential and demand in workforce, Fort Worth will be a great fit for our expansion into Texas. Fort Worth offers ideal resources and plenty of eager, willing employees looking to learn and grow in an emerging technological marketplace.”

“They fully expect to be hiring a couple of hundred people over the course of the next couple years,” Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Business Attraction and Retention Chris Strayer said. “They realize that the growth potential is here, and they want to set themselves up for the future growth of the company and that’s why they came to Fort Worth.”

The company, while a smaller player in the Fort Worth relocation game, is part of a trend where the city is breaking free of its humble shell and aggressively wooing corporate tenants.

Korea-based conglomerate KT&G USA Corp. inked a 10-year, 73K SF lease in April to plant its U.S. headquarters and distribution center in North Fort Worth.

In March, $6.5B farm store retailer Mid-States Distributing Co. announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Minneapolis to 40K SF in the Mercantile Center in North Fort Worth. 

The city last year closed on nine projects involving companies that did not previously have a presence in Fort Worth, according to Chamber data. So far this year, the city has already finalized 12 such projects. 

These moves to Fort Worth are not a coincidence. City officials and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce have been actively targeting companies to move to the city for nearly two years. 

The mission began when the city of Fort Worth had a dilemma on its hands.

Known for its stockyards, revitalized Downtown area, artistic amenities and laid-back vibe, the city in 2017 possessed all the amenities needed to woo companies and businesses. But research gathered by city officials and consultants concluded Fort Worth, while qualified in mostly every other way as a corporate relocation destination, lacked the global name recognition to compete for corporate relocations. 

The report concluded the city would lose out to nearby competition unless “the community makes a whole-hearted commitment to competing for projects.” 

The city of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and other city stakeholders responded to the challenge with an aggressive strategic plan to promote the area’s value to relocating and existing companies to drive commercial development. 

“One thing that both organizations spoke about when the prospective plans were released was the fact that historically we had been somewhat reactive to different types of projects that may be coming across our door,” Fort Worth Director of Economic Development Robert Sturns said. 

“We’ve really been trying to be much more aggressive and proactive and going out and looking at specific companies and drilling down on specific target areas, so it really is more of a strategic and selective process that we are trying to use to bring some of these companies in.”

So far, the plan is working like a charm and Sturns said along with mainstay industries such as oil, energy, healthcare and manufacturing, Fort Worth sees emerging opportunities in life sciences, biotech and technology.