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$5 million windfall for Neiman Marcus passes Dallas City Council

Ally/Criminal Wisdom
The Dallas City Council wants Neiman Marcus to keep a significant number of its headquarters employees in the city.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus will qualify for a city grant of up to $5 million if it keeps a certain portion of its employees at a headquarters in the city of Dallas.

City council members passed the grant at their meeting on Wednesday.

“I hope we don’t lose them to another suburb,” said Council member Tennell Atkins, who represents far southern Dallas. “We are a city that is in competition with the suburbs and the region.”

The money comes with some strings attached:

- If the company retains at least 1,100 jobs in Dallas, it can get up to four million dollars. Retail employees do not count toward that total.

- Neiman can get an additional one million dollars from the city if it creates at least 300 jobs by the end of 2026.

- Contractors, part-time workers, and interns do not qualify as a “job.” The positions must be full-time with benefits and receive a W-2 form from Neiman Marcus.

- The average wage for employees at headquarters sites must exceed $49.00 per hour, not including overtime, benefits, or bonuses.

- At least 35% of headquarters employees who are retained must live in the city.

Neiman Marcus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ordinance the city passed on Wednesday was amended from its original version. Council member Paul Ridley proposed being stricter with Neiman, and not allowing the company to periodically burn off its job creation and retention obligations during the grant period, which ends on December 31, 2031.

“If Neiman’s complies with the employment requirement, they have nothing to worry about. They keep the money,” said Council member Paul Ridley, who represents a chunk of central Dallas. “But if they don’t comply, then they should have to repay the amount of the incentives to the city. We’ve done this in many other economic development projects.”

His amendment passed nine to six.

The grant also includes up to $250,000 for “expedited permitting and fee reimbursement” connected to any move to Cityplace tower or improvements to the current Neiman Marcus headquarters in downtown Dallas.

Neiman, an iconic Dallas business, filed for bankruptcy after the onset of the pandemic in May 2020 and emerged that September.

The agreement must be finalized by March 31, 2023.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.