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Council considers $10 million grant for R&D company in downtown Fort Worth

April 18,2023

See full Fort Worth Report article by Seth Bodine here.

Fort Worth City Council is considering giving up to $10 million in grants to Sinclair Digital Services, Inc. to establish a technology and research and development center in downtown Fort Worth.

The proposal is being presented to City Council today, and is expected to be voted on April 25.

The company’s CEO, Farukh Aslam, transformed the historic Sinclair Building, from offices into a high-tech hotel.

Sinclair Digital was founded in 2021 and helped make the hotel more energy efficient by using Ethernet cable technology instead of electric cords and wiring to connect devices such as lights, smart mirrors and mini-refrigerators.

Hannah Walker, chief operating officer at Sinclair Digital, said what the company is trying to do is similar to electric automobile maker Tesla.

“What Tesla did is use (direct current) technologies, put a battery, put software controls and made it a hundred times more simple by using (direct current) technologies that are renewable and all based on software,” Walker said. “So that’s the exact same transformation that we are trying to make happen in buildings.”

Sinclair is still in its first round of funding — it received its first investment last November from Georgia-based company Southwire.

If council approves the research and development credit, Sinclair Digital Services promises the creation of 63 jobs over five years, with average yearly wages of at least $100,000. The company also plans to spend approximately $87 million in research and development across 10 years, according to an informal report to Fort Worth City Council.

The new technology and research and development center would feature a tech demonstration room, product mock-up room and an energy storage systems demonstration site.

If the City Council approves the grants, the company would be required to complete the center by 2025 and spend a minimum of $4 million a year for 10 years and $850,000 in facility improvements. The company would also be required to hire at least 55 jobs within the first five years with minimum average salaries of $100,000.

The grants would cover up to 35% of research and development costs up to $10 million. Full payment of the grant would require an estimated $121 million in new incremental property value.

Location Mentioned: The Sinclair, Autograph Collection