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April 2009

Powerful Union

Trade, retail and residential fit together in mixed-use developments.

A Major Contributor

Since 1990, AllianceTexas has generated more than $625 million in tax revenues for local public entities.

EntityTax revenues
Fort Worth$120 million
Haslet$6 million
Roanoke$15 million
Denton County$16 million
Tarrant County$101 million
Keller ISD$116 million
Northwest ISD$252 million

Source: Hillwood Properties

by Clint Shields

The plan at AllianceTexas started simply enough: Build an industrial airport to attract large aviation manufacturing and maintenance companies to Texas. Fort Worth Alliance Airport, a partnership among the city of Fort Worth, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Hillwood Properties, opened in 1989. Within five years, the site had attracted the attention of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (BNSF), which in 1994 opened a multipurpose hub adjacent to the airport.

From there, development around the airport took off.

“Once Burlington Northern came in with its hub, businesses started asking to build distribution centers next to it,” says Steve Boecking, Hillwood’s vice president of business development. “The hub was the driver behind the change.”

Today, the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas project is a shining example of a mixed-use development where the pieces – retail, residential and, in this case, industrial – fit together. In all, more than 200 companies, including 65 Fortune 500 or Global 500 companies, have a physical presence at the site. Names such as FedEx Express, Lego and Motorola are among the occupants.

“We have 29 million square feet under roof right now, but we’re only one-third developed,” says Boecking. “Hopefully that will grow real fast.”

AllianceTexas has created more than 29,000 jobs and contributed more than $33 billion in local economic impact and more than $625 million in property taxes.

From Here to the World

In addition to its original industrial airport and the BNSF facility, AllianceTexas boasts two Class I rail lines and access to state and interstate highways, enabling tenants to quickly move products to market.

More than 9,600 acres are designated as a foreign trade zone (FTZ). The AllianceTexas FTZ is the top-ranked FTZ in the nation, with more than $8 billion in cargo moving through annually. With U.S. Customs services on-site, the trade zone allows cargo to enter the FTZ without first clearing customs.

in the mix

Houston’s 2,400-acre Towne Lake development aims to offer residents retail access along its own 300-acre man-made lake. About 15 years away from completion, the developer’s goal is to provide not only retail services, but services that enhance residents’ quality of life.

“Our goal as a developer has always been to enrich people’s lives, and we’re very committed to that,” says Fred Caldwell, president and CEO of Caldwell Companies. “It’s a unique community and has gotten a lot of attention in the Houston area.”

When completed, it will be the fourth- largest lake in the Houston area, and residents will be able to travel to retail centers by boat.

In Austin, the 700-acre Mueller development is home to about 400 families and will have about 5,000 residences when completed. The site, located at the old Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, will house 650,000 square feet of retail space and another 3.8 million square feet of office space. FN

“It can speed up the supply chain by a day or maybe as many as three,” Boecking says. “If you can cut days off your supply chain, you can cut your inventory.”

The airport’s air traffic infrastructure and size accommodate large freight carriers such as FedEx Express.

The challenge of recruiting new businesses is greater still when the economy slows.

“Right now, naturally, there’s a slowdown of the deal flow,” Boecking says. “But, if businesses such as mass retailers start to consolidate into fewer distribution centers, AllianceTexas is a place that could pop up on their radars.”

Live, Work, Play

Numerous retail locations are sprinkled within Alliance Texas’ four residential developments. Restaurants, shops, banks and medical offices help complete the community circle, which Boecking says is the best part of the story.

“Those workers need homes and retail, and that has certainly fueled the residential development,” he says.

Amenities and a feeling of community helped with Christina Weeks’ decision to purchase a home at the site.

Steve Boecking, Hillwood's vice president of business development.

“It has hike and bike trails, tennis courts, and the amenity center is very nice – almost like a country club,” she says.

And those amenities go a long way to promote a sense of community, Boecking says.

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve developed a very trusting relationship with all of our local entities,” he says. “As a developer, we have to ask every day, ‘What value are we returning to them for their investment?’ More than $600 million in tax revenue is the answer.” FN

More information on Towne Lake is available online at

More information on Mueller is available at

Learn more about AllianceTexas by visiting its Web site at

Photos courtesty of TexasAlliance

AllianceTexas strives to provide a balance between work, life and cutting edge logistical transport.

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