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Deep Ellum makes room for Uber: 'Nobody likes change, but it's pretty cool to be a part of it'

You might not think an entertainment district would welcome big corporate business, but according to several Deep Ellum entrepreneurs WFAA spoke to, you'd be wrong.

DALLAS — A neighborhood can change a lot in 25 years, and Pete Zotos knows it.

"Nobody likes change, but it’s pretty cool to be a part of it," he said. 

His St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin is a mainstay that’s survived Deep Ellum’s peaks and valleys.

"It’s gone up and down, ebbed and flowed and all that, but this time you see some players with some big money that are really coming in here," Zotos said.

From the front door of his restaurant, you can see the highest peak yet. One as big as the smile on Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's face when he confirmed it Tuesday.

RELATED: Uber announces new program to help Texas drivers complete their college degree

The rideshare giant’s next major hub will be inside Deep Ellum’s new development The Epic, and here’s the number that made it happen: Uber gets nearly $36 million in incentives from the Dallas, Dallas County and the state of Texas.

In exchange, we’ll get 3,000 new jobs in the next five years — with an average salary of $100,000.

That’s a deal to the Dallas Regional Chamber.

"It puts a signal out there and helps that drumbeat that this a fantastic place for tech companies," said Mike Rosa, the chamber's senior vice president of economic development.

Drumbeats and bars are what Deep Ellum’s mostly known for. So what happens when a major corporation moves in?

"When that thing lands, that energy, that ripple, is just really going to have a super positive impact for all of downtown," Rosa said. 

Back at St. Pete’s, Zotos welcomes it.

"I’d rather see buildings that are full instead of buildings that are empty," he said.

RELATED: Dallas County commissioners approve tax break for new Uber headquarters

Big business might dull Deep Ellum’s edge, but it could also make what’s already there sharper.

The announcement does come with some community concerns. Some believe the amount of incentives is too high. There are discussions about transportation changes that would affect the neighborhood, and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price questioned if Uber's predominantly white male workforce is a true reflection of the city's population.

The first round of Uber employees will move into The Epic by the end of this year. 

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