MIDLOTHIAN — Change and construction are evident throughout Midlothian, as construction crews work to build the future of residential and retail in the DFW's Southern Star.
This year alone the city has issued 443 residential building permits that have a valuation of more than $79 million. On the commercial side, the City of Midlothian has issued 11 building permits that carry valuations of more than $31 million.
For historical reference, the city had 473 residential and 18 commercial building permits issued in 2016.
Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick stated that he believes the draw for newcomers to the community is a combination of factors.
“One is the school district. That is a big driver. I think that second is our location to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. We are 25 miles from Fort Worth and 20 miles from Dallas. When you start looking at those commutes and compare that to some of our northern communities, the commute time is shorter,” Dick said. “Thirdly is just the number of people that are moving into Texas in general. You have a lot of people moving into the state. All over the state and the Metroplex is reaping the benefits of that influx of population.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, Midlothian's population was about 18,690 as of April 1, 2010. As of July 1, 2016, the census bureau estimated that number to be closer to 23,689.
However, Dick stated that the city’s current population is roughly 26,000.
According to projections, Midlothian is on track to build around 600-700 homes this year and is looking to continue that trend next year. Currently, the city has 8,626 total single-family residential lots. Of those lots, 1,663 are ready to be built upon by developers.
“The average square foot builders are building is 3,269. That is the average square foot that we are building. Some are 4,000 some are 4,500. The smallest permits that we are seeing come through are in the 2,200-square-foot range,” Midlothian Assistant City Manager Kristine Day stated. “The average home price for construction value is $260,000. That is not sale value. Sale value is not too much more above that.”
Homebuilders in the city include John Houston Custom Homes, Bloomfield, Lillian Custom Homes and D.R. Horton and Dick estimates that a home with the average square footage of 3,269 is around $100 per square foot.
In anticipation of the growth, the Midlothian City Council has plans in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year to upgrade its streets and infrastructure. Of those projects, the city has identified 11-12 streets to rehabilitate and the work is mainly resurfacing projects that will not include the replacement of water and sewer lines. The cost of the projects is estimated at $1 million.
A few of the roadway improvement projects include signal lights at FM 663 and Harvest Hill and FM 663 and McAlpin, a deceleration and right turn lane at FM 663 and Tower Road, shoulders for FM 1387 from Midlothian Parkway to Kensington Area and a grade separation at U.S. Highway 287 and Walnut Grove.
In addition to the street work, the city is looking to do $480,000 worth of water sewer line work in the next fiscal year.
One of Midlothian’s noticeable commercial developments is the 53-acre Midlothian Towne Crossing, which broke ground 16 months ago. The development is located along U.S. Highway 287 and 9th Street. Businesses that the city has confirmed for the development include Kroger, Petco, Ulta Cosmetics, Ross, Chick-fil-A, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts, Famous Footwear, Burkes and Panda Express.
“They are doing great and anticipate to be open by Thanksgiving to get that big Black Friday crowd. We have not been given firm dates, but we understand that Kroger should open sometime in October or November,” Day stated. “Several of the others would like to open sometime this year or early next year."
Other commercial developments that have been confirmed around the city include Jack-in-the-Box, McCoy’s Building Supply, 7-Eleven, Quik Trip, Anytime Fitness and a senior living development.
“The McCoy’s is out going towards Waxahachie right there at Walnut Grove and (U.S. Highway) 287. It is a home improvement type of store and lumber. We were their number one site,” Day noted. “They are looking to catch everyone before they get to Waxahachie. This (store) will give our builders in town another option to bid material.”
Development activity has also taken place in Railport Business Park, the city's industrial base, as well.
According to the Midlothian Economic Development’s website, Railport is a 1,600-acre development that is zoned heavy industrial to light commercial. It is located off of Railport Parkway and U.S. Highway 67 in Midlothian.
“Certainly, because of the residential growth and the commercial growth, we are diversifying. That does not mean we have not seen industrial clients come in. There was a large purchase of 375 acres that changed hands out there at Railport. The company that did the (purchase) is a company by the name of Jet Stream. We don’t know what they are manufacturing. That has been kept very confidential,” Dick explained. “Even though we are diversifying our tax base with the number of residential and commercial there is still an industrial component.”
Dick added that the land purchased at Railport closed at the end of May.
He also noted there is a new business park on U.S Highway 67 and Miller Road that economic development is looking at filling with manufacturing and distribution type of uses.
Dick explained development should not have a huge effect on the downtown business district.
“Certainly we want our downtown to thrive. We do not want our downtown going away or drying up. I think that we will do what ever we can to keep this downtown thriving and keep it what it is today because it is such an important part of our community,” Dick stated. “It has been talked about at the council level through some meetings about the importance of our downtown. We certainly don’t want to see anything jeopardize that.”
Dick added that it is a hectic but exciting time for the City of Midlothian and its residents — both new and old.
“We are looking forward to the sustainability and the good quality growth in our community,” he said.