Belo Corp., which owns The Dallas Morning News, announced Wednesday that it will build a $100 million distribution and production center for the newspaper in south Dallas.
The two-phase project will begin with a 110,000-square-foot building to support packing and distribution of the newspaper's Sunday edition. The second phase will include shifting the company's commercial printing operation from its current site at 1000 Ave. H East in northeast Arlington.
Publisher Jim Moroney said the new plant will handle preprinted advertisements that appear in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. The company's north plant in Plano will continue printing the actual news pages.
"We've basically outgrown our capacity at the north plant to assemble all of these preprints, put them in your paper and get them delivered to you on time," Moroney said. "So this new south plant will give us the capacity to do that Sunday packaging."
A Belo spokesman said company officials want to close the Arlington plant in 2008 to consolidate operations with the one in Plano and the proposed south Dallas plant. The Arlington plant employs 100 people to handle printing contracts with USA Today, the London Financial Times, the Dallas Observer and the Morning News' zone publications in Garland and Richardson.
The new plant will be located on 50 acres in the Southport Business Center, at the intersection of Interstates 20 and 45, which is inside the city's only enterprise zone.
It's expected to generate 1,500 construction jobs, Moroney said. He added that it will employ about 160 people, including transfers from Arlington.
Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said the City Council is ready to approve a 10-year tax abatement on 90 percent of the property's added value. She also pledged $1.3 million in public infrastructure improvements.
Belo officials made the announcement at City Hall during a joint news conference with City Council members, who said the new plant would be a significant step in economic development of the area.