Why Innovation Thrives in Fort Worth

Last Month, ARCO/Murray’s very own Trevor Heaney participated in a panel event for Tarrant County alongside exceptional real estate experts, Sarah Lancarte (Lancarte Commercial), Todd Hubbard (NAI Robert Lynn), Reid Goetz (Hillwood), and Seth Koschak (Stream Realty). The following article includes information shared amongst the panelists.

Commercial real estate (CRE) markets continue to evolve across the country in response to many factors, many of which are location-dependent. While Texas is seeing record-breaking growth, Tarrant County has continued to make headlines due to ongoing corporate relocations and low unemployment.

As we enter the second half of 2022, the CRE industry feels nervous and unsure of what will happen next as the market continues to evolve and respond to ongoing socio and economic issues.

But despite change on the inevitable horizon, Tarrant County and the greater Fort Worth industrial real estate market will remain a place for innovation, growth, and opportunity.

As a national Design-Build contractor with experience from coast to coast, here is why we see Fort Worth in a unique light:

Access to Labor and Top Talent

Access to qualified labor is key to operational success when developing in the industrial market. It can make or break a company’s decision to plant roots or relocate.

With a constant influx of people moving and relocating to Texas, opportunities to hire top talent are helping alleviate the pains felt by nationwide labor shortages. As of May 2022, Fort Worth’s trade, transportation, and utility employment market is now the largest super-sector, with more than 19,500 jobs gained*. Around 80% of the families purchasing homes are from out of state*, and nearly 300 people move to the area daily.

Prime Location to Alleviate Logistical Challenges

A central location with quick access to intermodal transportation options is fundamental to operational success and efficiency for many industries. The importance of getting goods to market promptly has never been greater. The demand for next-day/same-day delivery is rebuilding as supply chain issues linger and European tensions persist.

Tarrant County’s aviation strength is central to its success as a prime location. Dallas/Fort Worth International puts Fort Worth within 2.5 hours of nearly every major city in the United States. Smaller sister airports such as Alliance (used solely for logistics and industrial distribution purposes), Spinks (for public use), and Meacham International (for corporate charters) add to Fort Worth’s robust aviation access. 

Fort Worth also serves as a BNSF Railway hub, creating a connection point to the ports of Los Angeles/Houston. It gives the city central access to the 32,500 miles of track available across the US and Canada. It means Fort Worth is well situated for rail-serve industrial facilities and provides an alternative method of transportation for goods and services.

Diversity of Product Type and Demand

Fort Worth is a highly diverse market in terms of industry type. From data center companies to aviation corporations, the area’s pro-business attitude appeals to a multitude of fortune 500 corporations across the globe. That diversification translates to variety in building type needs and requirements and, therefore, multiplicity in the real estate market.

While the development of much larger speculative facilities is taking a bit of a back seat, the tenant and customer demand fundamentals are still as strong as they can be. Leasing activity is still hot, and there is a growing need for small industrial flex space alongside niche build-to-suit products. There has been a significant uptick in smaller manufacturing products in the last 12 to 18 months, mainly in response to the need for products to hit the market in faster timeframes. With rail serve and crane serve facilities limited in the area, the demand for that product type is ever-present. In short, the demand and deals are still present if it is under the 300,000 SF size.

We have recently completed design-build construction services for various industrial product types in Tarrant County, including large distribution centers, more niche build-to-suit manufacturing projects, cold storage, and trucking facilities. As the market has evolved, we have also seen an increase in industrial renovations or tenant finish-outs, likely to trend due to price increases.

Opportunity For Growth

Tarrant County has generally spotlighted Alliance as its strongest Industrial sub-market. While that still holds, a significant focus is on the I20 corridor, which provides direct access to the county’s North, South, East, and West zones. We see rapid expansion into the Northeast and South markets, such as Midlothian, which have thrived despite their remote location. That growth has occurred due to a natural availability of land tracts, and as those tracts fill, expansion is looking further west.

Areas like the former Walsh Ranch have sizable tracks of land that still put you within 20 minutes of the Fort Worth Central Business District. Once you overcome any infrastructure hurdles with utilities, that location potential, proximity, and ease of navigation make it prime for future development.

So What’s Next?

Fort Worth’s pro-business attitude, ample land opportunity, and central location make it a continually attractive market for investors, developers, and buyers. That package deal that Fort Worth offers supplies businesses with a speed-to-market option unseen in other areas of the globe. While there may be a slight pullback in some of the demand, the truth is that the population of Fort Worth is consistently growing. That increasing population will inevitably require service within a reasonable timeframe, opening the door for increasingly innovative development solutions to meet demand.

If you are considering the Fort Worth market or looking to scale and expand your current portfolio, engage with ARCO/Murray. With 30 years of experience and over 4000 completed projects, we have perfected the process for our clients.

Our proven Design-Build methodology, bolstered by our numerous in-house experts and engineers, allows us to paint a clear picture of development for our client and determine best-use solutions. Our national reach means access to nationwide databases for pricing, vendors, and subcontractors. We can give accurate real-time pricing reflective of site nuances, physical location, and compounding factors such as permitting time frames in local communities.

As Engineering News Record’s #1 Builder of Industrial, we have in-depth knowledge of the product type and its subsets. Therefore, we can anticipate challenges and help provide value-driven solutions for our clients that do not compromise timeline and schedule.

*According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

** According to a Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center

Fort Worth Industrial Innovation

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