"The demand is there for big-box distribution centers to off-load the goods coming from Asia," Allen said. "So, it's got to be filled. And it's going to be filled by the 50 industrial parks that exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
"Yeah, we'll be competitors, but the balloon has got to bulge someplace," he said. "The demand is there for a second major logistics hub in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex."
The Allen Group started buying land around the Union Pacific intermodal terminal 3 1/2 years ago. After they had closed on 2,600 acres, they realized that the land could play a larger role in capturing that eastbound cargo from Asia. They bought 3,400 more acres, assembling a total of 114 parcels in a series of intricate deals.
Friday, The Allen Group will announce plans to start the development with 640,000-square-foot and 210,000-square-foot speculative industrial buildings near Interstate 20.
BNSF signed a memorandum of understanding to build a terminal at the Dallas Logistics Hub last November, Romanov said.
Now the company has about two years to decide whether it wants to build the terminal and start construction, he said. That fits with the company's projection to reach capacity at Alliance in the next three years, he said.
Berry said his company is in talks with BNSF about expanding the Alliance rail terminal's capacity. The terminal is a main stop for Asian imports from the Port of Long Beach.
Executives said the development and surrounding community will need about $350 million in infrastructure by the time the hub is fully built out. That money will come from a variety of sources as the development evolves, not all of which is in place. But Romanov said the developers have been in contact with the four cities in which their acreage is located about the infrastructure needs.
Berry said it took his company 15 years to get $350 million worth of publicly funded infrastructure built at Alliance.
Alliance is only 35 percent built out, Berry notes. And it's not finished yet. He still wants to continue the expansion of Alliance Airport and see Interstate 35W widened, he said.
"Right now, infrastructure funding is very limited, and we can't afford to slow down a project that is already in high gear," Berry said.
The movement of cargo has evolved significantly in recent years, Allen points out. Asian cargo is growing by leaps and bounds, and companies are challenged to find more efficient ways to get products to stores.
Shippers are experimenting with moving their containers through other West Coast ports besides the longtime favorite, the Port of Long Beach.
Companies are delaying breaking apart the containers until trains carry them much further inland, to wide-open places like Texas. North Texas is cheaper, less congested and centrally located.
"It really isn't a Dallas situation. It really isn't a real estate equation," Romanov said. "It's really more of a globalization of the economy."
Distributors are demanding a new generation of building, Allen said. They want higher clearances, more automated finish-outs, and giant buildings that are sometimes 10 times as big as the 100,000-square-foot warehouse that was standard more than a decade ago, he said.
These efficiencies help keep the price to the consumer down.
"It's evolved as we've imported more and more goods," Allen said.
Andrea Jares, 817-548-5522
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