Fidelity Investments said Wednesday that it will double the size of its Westlake campus and add 1,535 jobs at the facility, which opened in 2001 and employs about 2,800.Word of the 600,000-square-foot addition, which represents an investment of more than $200 million, comes a week after the town of Westlake granted the Boston-based financial-services giant an extension of tax breaks it received in 1999. That move paved the way for Fidelity to pursue other economic-development incentives, and Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday the company will receive an $8.5 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund. That grant would be one of the 10 largest made by the fund, an economic-development program that as of Dec. 31 had allocated nearly $324 million to more than 30 employers. G.K. Maenius, Tarrant County administrator, said county commissioners are scheduled to hear a briefing Feb. 20 on a proposed 10-year incentive package for Fidelity that would abate up to 75 percent of county property taxes on the expansion, contingent on the company meeting hiring and other guidelines. He said Fidelity received a similar tax abatement of up to 80 percent in 1999 for the initial facility. “The good thing is that these jobs pay $55,000 to $60,000 a year. So we have an opportunity to bring in some really good-paying jobs,” Maenius said. Fran Eichorst, manager of the Westlake site, said in a prepared release that the North Texas market offers a large qualified work force and a good business environment. He said town, county and state incentives figured in the company’s decision to expand in Westlake, where Fidelity had filled its existing facility, according to a company spokeswoman. The company also said it is prepared to begin hiring immediately in several of its Westlake business divisions. Fidelity is one of the world’s largest financial-services providers, with about 42,000 employees and $1.4 trillion under management. About 23 million individuals and companies use its mutual funds, brokerage and outsourcing services. Westlake is one of nine regional operations Fidelity has in the North America. Fidelity also has recently expanded in Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Utah, a company spokeswoman told the Star-Telegram last week. The company moved into its 300-acre Westlake campus in early 2001 with about 1,700 workers and planned to boost that to as many as 5,000. A three-year bear market that hit investment markets after 2000 instead produced job cuts at Fidelity during 2002, but it resumed its growth when the markets rebounded in 2003. Fidelity said it has more than 3,400 employees in North Texas, including the Westlake facility and about 400 at an Irving call center. It also operates several retail storefronts in the area.
News Article | 2/8/2007