The Best Southwest Partnership region is experiencing a growth spurt, with an influx of new residents and new businesses.
Along with plentiful job opportunities, the region of Southwest Dallas and Northern Ellis counties offers affordability, easy commutes, a spacious landscape with abundant recreation, and access to the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The region boasts more than 30 major retail centers totaling more than 4.9 million square feet. A diverse selection of housing, from garden homes to luxury subdivisions, is both affordable and plentiful.
In Midlothian, for example, the city issued nearly 450 residential building permits in 2017 along with more than a dozen commercial permits. Combined, the permits accounted for well over $100 million in upcoming development.
City officials point out that the attraction of Midlothian includes a highly ranked school district, the new Midlothian Towne Crossing shopping development and a location just 25 miles from Fort Worth and 20 miles from Dallas.
Other hotspot destination cities in the region include Ferris, Glenn Heights and Wilmer. Cedar Hill, whose retail sector alone has added close to 4 million square feet of office and retail space since 1999, has benefiited from a smart growth strategy.
“There are so many good things happening here, so many positives,” says Allison Thompson, Cedar Hill director of economic development. “A lot of solid planning is making this city a great place for residents and businesses to be.”
Cedar Hill features a historic downtown, and its parks master plan honors and preserves natural space.
“The city has available commercial land and good connectivity with highways and rail for business, and the southern portion of Cedar Hill features a vibrant industrial sector with several long-standing companies,” Thompson says. “Our vacancy rate in the industrial district is very low because businesses stay and grow here.”
Thompson adds that the city features nice places to live, shop and take clients to lunch, and Cedar Hill has highly regarded public schools and several charter schools.
“In addition, apartment complexes are being constructed to attract millennials and young professionals,” she says. “Cedar Hill is a great place that offers residents a good quality of life for people of all ages.”
On the Grow
Another Best Southwest Partnership Community, DeSoto, is seeing a boon in hotel development, including projects such as a recently opened Home2Suites and a 75-room GLo DeSoto that will open in June 2018. GLo is Best Western’s new boutique hotel brand designed to target millennial travelers.
Also growing is Red Oak, whose population from 2000 to 2014 grew nearly 170 percent. Over the past two years, the city has witnessed the opening of three industrial facilities, 13 retail developments, two schools and six neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the city of Ovilla is taking things a little slower.
“We are a little bedroom community without a lot of commercial development, but we kind of want it that way,” says John Dean, Ovilla city manager. “I admire that our city leaders look for smart growth for our community, not just arbitrary growth for the sake of growing.”
Bryson Manor, a subdivision in Ovilla, is entering Phase 2, and another subdivision is in the planning process, with 150 home plats approved in late 2017.
“Home prices here are a bit expensive, with most houses measuring more than 3,000 square feet, which drives the prices to over $300,000,” Dean says. “This is not really a city where millennials would move in. It’s more for individuals and families that are more established in their lives and careers.”
Dean says many Ovilla residents work in the metroplex and can be in downtown Dallas within 20 minutes.
“We are certainly experiencing slower growth than cities like Midlothian and Red Oak that are immediately adjacent to us, but we are looking long term maybe 20 or 30 years down the road as opposed to what can we build today,” he says. “This way, we can plan for future infrastructure and everything else that comes with new growth.”