Selection in Dallas
major commercial corridors such as the central business district to Southern
Dallas business parks, business is booming. The demand for commercial real
estate, driven by the need for distribution facilities, is growing. Southern
Dallas business parks offer an attractive alternative to comparable properties
in North Dallas, while offering many of the same amenities.
While a large percentage
of international development has taken place in the northern sector of
the Dallas area, global companies are beginning to discover that Southern
Dallas offers one of the world's most diverse, dynamic business environments.
For companies that seek a location for expanding their distribution/manufacturing
operations, or developing a campus-style business center, Southern Dallas
is perfectly positioned to meet corporate needs.
Its strategic location
at the crossroads of Interstate 35 ( the NAFTA designated commercial corridor
linking Dallas to Austin, San Antonio, Port of Corpus Christi and Mexico)
and Interstate 45 (offering direct access to Houston and its seaport),
positions Southern Dallas at the apex of international trade for the Southwestern
region of the United States. Currently, 74 percent of the trucking traffic
between Mexico and the United States takes I-35 through Texas. In addition,
routes through Southern Dallas are generally less congested than some
areas of the Metroplex, contributing to shorter delivery times. If you
need air cargo delivery services, DFW International Airport is only 20
domestic business advantages in Southern Dallas include:
- lower land cost
than in many other areas of the country.
- a lower crime rate
than in many other U.S. cities.
- site opportunities
for retail and commercial business.
- economic development
incentives through tax abatements, infrastructure cost
- a one-stop permit
center, which makes the permitting and licensing for development easy
- proximity to Downtown
- convenient access
to DART light rail stations, a primary source in getting employees to
- intermodal distribution
access to both Dallas and markets in central, southwest, midwest and
- a major national
freight distribution hub served by Burlington Northern, Santa Fe, Norfolk
Southern, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads.
- the largest trucking
center in the Southwest, served by 150 regular route common carriers.
- easy access to
DFW International Airport for export to worldwide destinations. It is
only 20 minutes away, and there is less congestion getting there. In
addition, close proximity to Love Field and Redbird Airports offers
excellent access in and out of Southern Dallas.
to Remember about Site Selection in the Development Process
There are four basic
steps in the site selection process:
- You must first list your reasons for potential relocation and/or expansion
using an assessment of current and future needs. There are many reasons
to consider a move, but five of the most common are: having closer proximity
to customers or suppliers, a lack of qualified local workers, a saturated
market or the desire to move into a different one, cost reduction, and
the chance to implement large-scale production changes.
The assessment period is also a good time to create a financial analysis
of your company's current standing in the market place. Carefully consider
your current operations and what it will take for your organization
to reach optimal production. In order to do this, you will have to identify
the strengths and weaknesses of your company; identification of these
factors will be essential to choosing a location, and are the basis
for creating a "long list" of potential sites. Elements to
consider: education/training resources in the area, tax rates, labor
availability, environmental regulation, transportation infrastructure,
utility cost/availability, citizen/governmental attitudes in the area,
and quality of life.
2. Screening - The screening process doesn't have to be long
and tedious, if you have created a list of factors to screen for in
the first step of the site selection process. Take the most important
variables for your company's continued success, and use them to create
a long list of potential locations. The locations need not be specific
at this stage - aim instead for regional targets.
After you have created a long list of factors critical to your company's
optimal performance, create a short list of locations where these factors
are readily available. The usual short list should contain about 10
3. Location Selection - At this stage you should be ready to
examine your short list choices more closely. Interview government officials
and other businesses operating in the area to create an accurate portrait
of each location. This is the time to decide whether or not the prospective
community has the resources to keep your business thriving. Don't overlook
workforce agencies, local
tax assessment bureaus, and utility companies - any information
will help you flesh out your vision of a chosen site.
Another thing to create during this stage is a brief economic analysis
for each site. Once you have needed information on each site, plug in
the numbers and evaluate the pros and cons of each site individually.
Then compare them all side-by-side, and eliminate locations that are
most expensive in terms of opportunity costs.
4. Site Selection - This is the stage to further narrow down
your list of potential sites. In order to make the procedure as efficient
as possible, the short list has to be whittled down to two or three
possibilities. Even after you have done this, the final phase of the
process may be the longest for two reasons:
a. Physical inspection
of the properties must be done at this point. This is the time to
get out and see prospective sites first hand. Go out and envision
your company at each site. Get a feel for what operations would be
like at each.
b. Seek out state and local
economic development agencies and enter into negotiation with
them. This is the stage to investigate tax abatements and other incentives,
and use them to make a final decision.
- Remember rule number
one of site selection: location, location, location. Look at your company
and decide what type of site you need. Standard things to examine: the
area's potential workforce, the probability of vendor support, prices
of needed services (utilities, transport, taxes), the number of competitors
in the area, and the quality and cost of living for employees. The right
location will keep your company visible while keeping related costs
(transportation, development) under control.
- Once you've created
a shortlist of sites, invest in market research to determine long term
trends and demographic changes in your prospective location(s). An accurate
portrait of the area will give you vital information about market demand,
as well as the number and sizes of buildings in your proposed location.
Local real estate companies should be able to give you information and
data sheets for sites, other operations could give valuable inside
information on the area's workforce.
- Go see what's available
in your proposed location, because customizing an existing site may
be more cost-effective than building a new one from the ground up. Keep
in mind, though, that the cost of the land is usually in direct relation
to the amount of development already in place. What you need may already
be in place, but you'll never know until you visit the site in person.
- If you want to
develop a new site, be an informed consumer. In order to solicit bids,
make a very clear list of what you need as a company, from square footage
to building materials. Take the purpose of the structure into consideration
as well; warehouses will not require the same components as a laboratory.