News Article | 6/19/2009

ATC renews lease at Alliance Global hub

Hillwood’s Alliance Global Logistics Hub will keep one of the project’s largest clients under terms of a 556,000-square-foot lease renewal signed last week.

ATC Logistics and Electronics, which opened in Alliance in 1994, renewed its lease in the 375,000-square-foot Gateway 5 building that it has occupied since 2005, as well as the lease at the 181,000-square-foot Gateway 31 building it has occupied since 2007.

ATC, which employs about 2,600 people at Alliance, also leases the 413,500-square-foot Gateway 19 building. The company signed a long-term lease on that facility in 2007 when it expanded to the entire building. All three ATC facilities are in the Fort Worth section of the Alliance Global Logistics Hub.

No immediate job growth will be tied to the lease renewals, but the third-party logistics firm has been in near-constant expansion mode for several years, said ATC Logistics President Antony Francis.

The firm, which provides warehousing, distribution, return and repair service for electronics customers, grew from about 500 employees to about 2,700 in the past five years as revenue went from $83 million to $353 million, Francis said. Its focus includes wireless, broadband, electronics, medical, industrial and automotive devices for customers ranging from AT&T Inc. and TiVo to LG Electronics Inc. and TomTom Inc.

ATC has been pleased with Hillwood and Alliance, and more broadly with the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is ideal for nationwide logistics and distribution because of its central location and transportation infrastructure, Francis said.

“Once you have established operations with key customers like AT&T and TomTom, you don’t want to disrupt things by having to move a facility,” he said. Both Hillwood and ATC declined to disclose lease rates.

Expansion at Alliance is likely to continue if ATC continues to land more business, Francis said. “We are very aggressively looking for new opportunities,” he said.

With almost a million square feet, ATC represents one of the largest overall expansions at the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, said Steve Aldrich, vice president of Hillwood Properties. The company opened at Alliance in 1994 with 40,500 square feet.

With more than 29 million square feet and 200 tenants now at Alliance, renewals such as the ATC deal make up a critical part of Hillwood’s focus, Aldrich said.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with ATC dating back to their initial operation out here,” Aldrich said. “It’s been a great story of growth, which is a huge credit to the company itself, but also speaks to our ability to facilitate that growth.”

Being based at Alliance makes sense for a logistics company such as ATC for many reasons, said Terrance Pohlen, associate professor of logistics and director of the Center for Logistics Education and Research at the University of North Texas.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s population of more than 6 million puts the company close to many customers, Pohlen said. Alliance’s proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Fort Worth Alliance Airport allows for easy air transportation of electronic devices, and the area’s geographic location allows products to be trucked to 80% to 85% of the U.S. population within two days, he said.

Alliance has positioned the inland port as a hub for the electronics industry, he added.

“You’ve got lots of electronics trade coming into D-FW; you’ve got many electronics manufacturers located throughout the Metroplex, and out at Alliance you’ve got lots of cell phone manufacturers and other companies that are in the electronics business,” Pohlen said.

Including the ATC deals, Hillwood has leased 1.9 million square feet at the Alliance Global Logistics Hub so far this year. In 2008 the company leased 1.1 million square feet at Alliance.

Ryan Keiser of CB Richard Ellis represented ATC Logistics. Aldrich represented Hillwood.