Fort Worth’s formidable aerospace sector may possibly gain another heavy hitter.

This week, City Council heard a presentation proposing a project with GKN Aerospace. Fort Worth is being considered as one of the top candidates in a national site selection process for the company’s Global Technology Center.

GKN Aerospace develops, builds and supplies an extensive range of advanced aerospace systems, and is an industry leader in additive manufacturing for aerospace materials, engines and other technologies.

The potential Fort Worth location would serve as the center of all GKN Aerospace research and development activity in North America. While the company is based in the United Kingdom, GKN Aerospace employs more than 15,000 people around the world, across its 38 manufacturing sites in 12 countries.

Fort Worth would be an ideal location for GKN Aerospace, which already manufactures supporting technologies for Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream and other aerospace and aviation companies with a strong presence in the area.

A company spokesperson said: “We are grateful to the City of Fort Worth for considering GKN Aerospace for its R&D credit program. The city and region have a lot to offer, and we look forward to continuing discussions as we progress the selection process.”

R&D credit program a strong selling point

If Fort Worth is chosen for the Global Technology Center, it would mark the second use of the city’s R&D credit program – one of Fort Worth’s unique incentives, and one of the most attractive to companies like GKN Aerospace.

The R&D credit program allows the City to provide companies with grants that are equal to a percentage of their Fort Worth-based research and development costs. The grants are limited to the value of new property taxes created by the project, or they can also be sold and assigned to other commercial projects that create new value within the city. The incentive was originally created to help Fort Worth compete for R&D-intensive projects like this one in ways that might not otherwise be possible.

If Fort Worth is selected for GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Center, City staff is recommending that Fort Worth offer grants capped at $7 million, which would require an estimated $40.5 million to be generated in R&D costs and an estimated $91.6 million in new property tax increment from the company or grant assignees. The grant credits would be earned based on 25% of the company’s eligible annual R&D costs.

Because these grants are based on performance, they are also subject to the company reaching specific milestones on their end regarding job numbers, minimum average annual salaries, and committing a percentage of construction costs to minority- and women-owned firms.

The recommendation will go before City Council for a vote on Oct. 25.

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