897px-Facebook_like_thumbFacebook’s decision to make Fort Worth home to its fifth data center lands Tarrant County’s first-ever $1 billion project – the largest-ever capital investment locally from a private entity – and a global Top 10 brand.

But, beyond that, what do we in Fort Worth and Tarrant County get in return for the City’s $146.7 million in incentives for up to 20 years and the County’s 10-year tax abatement for Facebook?

Plenty. Many times over the investment. And the economic impact will extend far beyond Facebook with help from Texas’ business-friendly environment and legislation and Fort Worth’s inherent advantages in location, quality of life and infrastructure.

As Gov. Greg Abbott said July 7 at Facebook’s groundbreaking event at its AllianceTexas site: “Make no mistake. This project …is a magnet” that will draw even more high-tech companies to Tarrant County, billions more in capital investment and revenue for taxing entities.

North Texas already is the nation’s third-largest data center market with operations for major companies at AllianceTexas such as AIG, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Citigroup.

The number of data centers is expected to double within five years. And with the competitive edges, including an excellent workforce, that already are in place here, Fort Worth stands to attract a substantial amount of that growth and the benefits.

Consider this example: Simple math alone reveals Facebook’s pending impact.

This time last year, Facebook’s 110-acre site generated only $2,720 annually for the City in property tax due to an agricultural exemption.

As Facebook property, the site now will pour more than $2.4 million annually into City coffers and will not require heavy infrastructure improvements or strain as, say, with a residential development. That’s at least $48.5 million over the next 20 years.

Tarrant County and the hospital district will receive an estimated combined $30 million over 10 years in revenue instead of a combined $80 annually in property tax from vacant farmland. Northwest ISD will receive $150 million over the next 20 years, generating more opportunities for students in a fast-growing part of our city.

With continued application of wise business practices in the economic development arena, the City, County and Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce stand together to assure a bright future for this area.

Welcome to Fort Worth, Facebook. We like you. We like prosperity. Thanks for sharing.