By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2021 Issue
Business Facilities: TexAmericas Center remediates military sites. What kind of resources are needed for that?
Eric Voyles: Since its inception in 1997, TexAmericas Center and its Partners in Development have expended over $40 million to remediate, improve transportation infrastructure and access as well expand capacity of all utilities…all to improve the property to the point where it can be transactable.
BF: How large are the available sites that can be redeveloped by TAC?
EV: In total TexAmericas Center owns over 12,000 acres. This acreage is separated in to three distinct campuses. Our Central Campus consists of 765 acres and over 750,000 square feet of office, flex and manufacturing space. The Central Campus offers over 200 acres of shovel-ready development sites.
The West Campus consists of 2,900 acres and over 250,000 square feet of former munitions storage bunkers. The campus offers pristine, amazing views of forestland, fields and wildlife. Also called the Expansion Parcel, this property is full of potential and is envisioned to be developed into individual business parks focused on: data centers, green energy production, agriculture technology and energy storage.
The East Campus consists of 8,900 acres and over 2.1 million square feet of former munitions production and storage space, as well as office, flex and manufacturing space. The campus has 36 miles of rail, including a 350-car classification yard and transload services. About 5,000 acres of the property is fully served by all infrastructure.
The East campus offers multiple individual business parks, including parks focused on energetics, food processing, heavy manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. Tall pine forests offer privacy and a unique quality of life for a workforce.
BF: Has the pandemic spurred development in mid-market and rural areas, including the Texarkana region?
EV: Yes, we’ve seen considerable interest in our location and opportunities as companies—large and small—seek to grow in more effectively priced communities which also have an abundance of workforce options. TexAmericas Center and Texarkana readily fits that description.
BF: Are businesses relocating or expanding to the Texarkana region for a better quality of life and a lower cost of doing business?
EV: Yes. Like others across the country, we are experiencing demand for rural locations. Just as city dwellers are seeking out more rural settings to offer them more space from neighbors, so are businesses turning to smaller markets to set up shop. TAC has long been in high demand for companies looking to take advantage of its low costs of utilities, taxes, overhead and labor. Each of those categories tend to run at least 20 to 30 percent lower in Texarkana than in other major Texas MSAs. In rural America, companies might find the amenities they want without risks that come along with a dense population. Likewise, lower startup costs make multi-site operations more feasible, and transportation efficiency abounds outside of city centers.
BF: How large is the regional economic impact of TAC?
EV: TexAmericas Center boasts 33 corporate citizens. These companies employee nearly 800 individuals. Analysis of employee zip code data of regional employees shows that the labor shed for employers is about 75 miles.
BF: TAC had no power outages during the winter freeze in TX because it’s part of the Southwest Power Pool’s grid. Does that let you offer lower industrial electricity power rates?
EV: TexAmericas Center is not part of ERCOT, but instead is part of the Southwest Power Pool. Our electricity provider, AEP/SWEPCO, has some of the lowest costs electricity rates in the country, and is routinely 20 percent or more below the U.S. average. System reliability is a major focus of its maintenance program. Additionally, the SWEPCO is a regulated utility that can offer economic development rate pricing and construction assistance for qualifying projects.
BF: The Riverbend Water Resource District is building a $200-million water treatment plant at TAC. How important is on-site infrastructure to businesses?
EV: This investment is of strategic importance as it adds a new utility to the footprint, raw water. Raw water will make us more attractive to heavy industrial projects that can leverage our rail and low utility costs.