Rail, air and highway connections make Southwest Dallas County and Ellis County an ideal location for distribution and logistics operations.
Look at a map of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and it becomes quite clear why the Best Southwest Partnership region is a growing hotbed for industrial development.
A web of interstates, Class I and regional rail carriers, and airports link the region with markets around the world. Companies are investing in distribution, logistics and manufacturing space across the 12 partnership cities in Southern Dallas and Northern Ellis counties to take advantage of existing and planned highway and rail expansions.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field, two of the busiest in the nation, are within an easy drive of the communities.
Primed for Growth
As a sign of the growing demand, a wave of warehouse construction has blossomed along the Interstate 20 corridor, where almost 7 million square feet of warehouse projects are in the works in Southwest Dallas, including the cities of Lancaster and Hutchins.
One of the area’s key assets is the highway network that includes major routes in all four directions, offering fast travel time to key markets with lower traffic volumes than other areas. Major highways include I-20, I-35E, I-45, Highway 67, Highway 287 and Highway 342. The Loop 9 project under study now would create a loop around the Best Southwest Partnership region, eventually linking I-20, I-45 and I-35 to accommodate increasing commercial traffic.
The area is also expecting additional commerce from the expansion of the Panama Canal, where traffic will flow to and from the Port of Houston through the Best Southwest Partnership region.
“The expansion will allow a lot of freight to come this way from Asia and go onto Houston. Businesses will be able to bring in more goods and send more out to Asia; that’s a big driver of what we see going on here,” says Casey Burgess, mayor of Wilmer, a city of about 5,000 that’s one of the key cities in the Best Southwest Partnership distribution hub.
Million-plus square feet logistics centers are becoming commonplace in the region. In DeSoto, three such facilities are under construction, and several smaller projects are underway as well, says Jeremiah Quarles, CEO of the DeSoto Economic Development Corp. Those sites join the 1.1 million-square-foot Kohl’s e-commerce distribution center that opened in DeSoto in August 2012.
Quarles says DeSoto’s big-box industrial trend started when Walmart and Sam’s Club opened their regional hub in Eagle Business and Industrial Park, followed quickly by Kohl’s. Those investments were aided by City of DeSoto’s assistance in recruitment and by lower traffic volumes than in North Dallas, Quarles says.
The list of companies with logistics facilities in the area includes JCPenney, Mars Petcare, Quaker Oats, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, BMW, Whirlpool and Target. L’Oreal also has facilities in the Inland Port area in Hutchins, South Dallas, Lancaster and Wilmer.
The International Inland Port of Dallas is a public-private partnership that encompasses more than 7,000 acres and six municipalities, including Dallas County. More than 12 million square feet of warehouse space has been built or is currently under construction there.
Logistics became a major force in the region with the opening of the FedEx Ground hub in Hutchins, which handles about a quarter million packages a day.
Another boost came with the opening of Union Pacific’s Dallas Intermodal Terminal in 2005. The 360-acre terminal, located 12 miles from downtown Dallas within the city limits of Hutchins and Wilmer, is in proximity to the five fastest-growing counties in the region, and has quick access to 97 percent of the Metroplex population.
“We have the best economics for logistics in that we have very reasonable land costs, an abundant labor force, and utility costs are competitive with other parts of the country,” says Mike Rader, president of Prime Rail Interests LLC, a land development company. “If you want to build a regional distribution center, you want to be in the spot that has the best economics and the time savings to get to your marketplace, and that’s the Best Southwest Partnership region.”
Read more business success stories in the Best Southwest Dallas Partnership region.