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Site Selection in Dallas
Dallas Ecopark
Dallas Southport Center
Eastpoint Business Center
Hensley Field
Mountain Creek Business Park
Pinnacle Park
Redbird Industrial Property
Santa Fe Industrial Park
Stoneridge
Reinvesting in Southern Dallas
(for viewing only, courtesy of McKinsey & Company)
Site Selection in the Development Process
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Site Selection in Dallas
From 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 minutes away.

International and 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 and user-friendly.
  • proximity to Downtown Dallas
  • convenient access to DART light rail stations, a primary source in getting employees to work.
  • intermodal distribution access to both Dallas and markets in central, southwest, midwest and eastern U.S.
  • 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.

Points to Remember about Site Selection in the Development Process

There are four basic steps in the site selection process:

1. Assessment - 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 different possibilities.
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.

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