News Article | 3/4/2005

D-FW leads nation in relocations

Dallas-Fort Worth saw more corporate relocations and expansions than any other U.S. metropolitan market in 2004, according to a new study from Conway New Plant Database and Site Selection magazine.

With 277 new corporate projects, D-FW bested perennial rust-belt leaders Detroit, which had 263 new projects, and Chicago, which came in with 238.

To qualify, corporate projects had to involve at least $1 million in capital investment, create a minimum of 50 new jobs or result in at least 20,000 square feet of absorbed space. The study doesn’t consider retail or government projects, schools or hospitals.

Companies moving to or expanding in North Texas last year include Countrywide Financial Corp., Vought Aircraft, Williamson-Dickie, Del Monte Foods, The Home Depot, Washington Mutual, Pier 1 Imports, AutoZone, Methodist Health System and Embassy Suites.

Officials at the Dallas and Fort Worth chambers of commerce, led respectively by Baylor Healthcare Systems CEO Joel Allison and Hillwood executive Mike Berry, say a spirit of cooperation between the two groups has led to an increase in corporate relocation activity.

Allison called Site Selection’s No. 1 ranking “a huge win for our region.”

“Corporate America is seeing what we have always known,” he said. “We have an excellent and able work force, the quality of life here is outstanding and our geographical position within the United States can’t be matched by anyone.”

D-FW’s strong performance also helped the state win Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup Award for 2004, an honor given to the state with the most corporate relocations and expansions. Texas led the way with 668 projects. It last won in 1992. Michigan ranked second with 653 projects, followed by Ohio with 620, New York with 517 and Illinois with 356.

Praise for Perry

The publication gave high marks to Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Enterprise Fund.

“The legislature’s committing $295 million to that fund was a short-term difficult decision to make because of the economic situation we were in,” Perry told Site Selection. “But long term, it was very visionary relative to the job-creation climate in Texas.”

Now in its 51st year, Atlanta-based Site Selection is the oldest corporate real estate and economic development publication in the country and the official magazine of the Industrial Asset Management Council. The publication’s editor, Mark Arend, said Texas’ strong performance in 2004 underscores the state’s commitment to attracting business and industry.

“Gov. Perry and his team clearly intend to make Texas an economic development powerhouse,” he said. “This award recognizes the state’s progress toward that end.”