For the past several years, Midlothian has experienced a wave of growth from businesses that have made the city home.
The Railport and the Midlothian Business Park developments on U.S. Highway 67 seek to continue that wave of momentum.
Economic Development Director Larry Barnett stated Midlothian’s central location, quick access to commercial airports, and the proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex make these industrial sites and the city a prime area for developers to consider.
“The primary selling point from a distribution standpoint and an access standpoint is our location," Barnett said. "We are on the south side of the Metroplex. That means we have got the whole southern part of the state open to us without having to go through the traffic of the Metroplex. Then you have got access to the DFW area too.”
The Midlothian Economic Development website states the city has a population of 36,700 with a labor force of 1.3 million.
TXI, in partnership with the city, developed Railport during the late 1990s. The development is located off of Railport Parkway and U.S. Highway 67. It is zoned from heavy industrial to light commercial.
The infrastructure in the development was funded through the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. It used a portion of taxes from the City of Midlothian, Ellis County, and Midlothian ISD.
Barnett stated the development has been successful in bringing businesses to the city, but still has a lot to offer. He shared this type of industrial park is an investment in the city's future and does not develop overnight.
“It is a long-term proposition when you build an industrial park. You know that you are going to have to wait,” Barnett said. “Railport has been successful. It has been mainly large sites. We have had a lot of people look at us through the years from manufacturing to distribution facilities.”
Barnett stated the industrial park still has a lot of sites available to build upon. He noted it takes time to find the right person.
“This is a greenfield site. So you have got to come in and build a facility. Not everyone is willing to do that,” Barnett said. “So it takes time to get the right people in there. It is going to take time to complete that part.”
With the announcement that Toys R Us is closing nationwide, Barnett feels that the distribution center at Railport will be highly sought after by companies.
“I have talked to brokers who are in the distribution business. It won’t take long to fill up that facility. There is a demand for distribution in the Metroplex,” Barnett explained. “We don’t anticipate that this building will sit here for that long because of the ideal size, it is 800,000 square feet. It is a very versatile building.”
Opening in 2016, the Midlothian Business Park is located on the corner of U.S. Highway 67 and Miller Road and has 140 acres of buildable land. The more than $7 million development looks have a mixture of small to medium size industrial businesses. Sites range from two and a half acres to 19.
“When we built the Midlothian Business Park we wanted a park that could address smaller sites. If you go across to Railport, those are generally larger sites. You see 40-acre, 100-acre sites or more,” Barnett said. “What we are looking for in the business park is manufacturing companies and smaller distribution companies.”
Barnett stated some of the markets the city have been reaching out to include aerospace and automobile suppliers. Those businesses feed to larger companies in the Metroplex like General Motors in Arlington. The city is also marketing the site to companies involved in food production. Food production involves a wide range of products such as bottling facilities.
“In today’s world people are always looking for a new product. It could be any food product that is prepackaged. It could be something like prepared meals. It could be suppliers to be these large restaurant chains,” Barnett said. “These restaurant chains maybe they have some large product that could be made outside of that company.”
He added the food production facilities would not include anything like a slaughterhouse. The only add companies in the business park would add value to the community not detract from it.
Barnett noted the goal of the business park is to diversify the city’s economy and manufacturing base. This diversity creates the opportunity for people’s job skills to be used different industries.
He shared the completion of the Interstate Highway 360 by the North Texas Tollway Authority would increase the usefulness of Railport and the Midlothian Business Park to developers. He noted the new portion Interstate Highway 360 would give another access point to the Metroplex.
According to the NTTA website, the toll road will have 11 entrance ramps and 13 exit ramps along the corridor before ending at U.S. Highway 287. It is anticipated to be open sometime this spring.
Barnett feels the future of the city is very bright and that it will continue to grow its manufacturing and industrial base.