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'This is the future': Satellite manufacturer could bring high-tech, high-paying jobs to Arlington

Arlington Municipal Airport's front building is gray with tan undertones. The logo on the front features a blocky letter "A" with a star in the middle -- an older city logo. It's cloudy.
Emily Nava
Arlington Municipal Airport could become the site for the startup E-Space to build a manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters.

Arlington City Council approved agreements that could bring three new headquarters to the city – one of which is projected to create 3,355 new high-paying jobs in the next three decades.

Council members greenlit the city and the Arlington Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) to enter a public-private partnership with the company E-Space to build a 750,000 square-foot manufacturing and office space at the Arlington Municipal Airport. It will also create 2,000 new jobs over the next decade.

The global telecommunications and satellite manufacturing company focuses on advances in Internet of Things communication – that is, networks of connected devices – using satellite technology. E-Space currently employs 95 people in Saratoga, Calif., and Beverly, Mass.

The company’s first phase of development involves building a 250,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and office space, a 40,000 square-foot hangar, aircraft parking and an access road.

Under the agreement, the AEDC would contribute up to $50 million to help with construction. The city will lease the ground for the first phase of development to the AEDC. The corporation will own the improvements and lease them to E-Space for a 30-year term, with two 5-year renewal options. The city will provide E-Space hiring grants per Arlington resident hired and a 50% rebate on eligible personal property.

E-Space must meet certain requirements for funding, including the creation of 400 jobs that pay an average salary of $95,000.

The company must also work with the city on how the municipal government can utilize the company’s technology, as well as participate in local philanthropic and workforce development programs.

Marty Wieder, AEDC executive director, said the company is in preliminary discussions with UT Arlington about collaborating.

“This ties in well with (UTA) and the kinds of things they’ve taught for years when it comes to mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aviation and aerospace,” Wieder said.

Arlington City Council members approved the master agreement 8-0, with District 7 Council Member Bowie Hogg absent.

District 4 City Council Member Andrew Piel said during an afternoon meeting that the project could leave Arlington well-positioned as the space economy grows.

“This is the future, and I’m very impressed that Arlington has gotten in on the ground floor on something that can really go far and created enough protections after doing the due diligence to protect taxpayer dollars,” Piel said.

The space economy is projected to grow from $630 billion in 2023 to $1.8 trillion by 2035, according to a city staff presentation to council.

Other economic development agreements

Council also approved two Chapter 380 agreements that would each bring a new corporate headquarters to Arlington.

Chapter 380 agreements authorize municipalities to offer loans and grants at little or no cost to stimulate commercial activity.

One agreement would incentivize Acciona Facility Services USA to open in Arlington by June 1, remain open for 10 years and allow the city to discuss expanded business efforts before considering new ventures in other cities. The company provides various facility management services to industrial, health care, institutional and logistics campuses.

The company would also have to market job opportunities towards and make efforts to hire Arlington residents. In return, the company will receive an annual rebate of 65% of the 1% of sales taxes collected on service contracts for a decade. The company is projected to earn $650,000 in rebates.

Council approved the agreement with Acciona Family Services by an 8-0 vote.

Arlington City Council also approved an agreement with Fort Worth-based GAC media to relocate its headquarters by the end of the year.

The media group owns U.S. cable networks including Great American Family and Great American Faith and Living.

The city under the agreement will provide the company grants of up to $100,000 for relocation costs and improvements to its headquarters. In return, the company must remain in Arlington until 2027 and establish 20 job positions. GAC Media is also on the hook for two video productions that showcase or highlight the city.

Council approved the agreement by a 7-1 vote, with District 3 Council Member Nikkie Hunter as the lone dissenting vote. Hunter declined to comment on her vote.

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Kailey Broussard covers Arlington for KERA News and The Arlington Report. Broussard has covered Arlington since 2020 and began at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before joining the station in 2021.