Seven projects led Arlington to surpass Plano and rank No. 1 in economic development deals for 2016 by Dallas Business Journal.
This is Arlington's first time to receive this recognition since the Office of Economic Development began submitting projects in 2014. The city ranked No. 2 in both 2014 and 2015.
The total value of Arlington’s 2016 deals submitted to the magazine was $1.55 billion. Plano Economic Development ranked No. 2 for having $675.42 million in deals.
The city's submission included seven projects: the new Texas Rangers ballpark, Texas Live!, Summit Racing, Champions Park, Arlington Chamber of Commerce Building E, Liv+ Arlington apartments and Southwest Restaurant.
Economic development manager Bruce Payne said the ranking will increase opportunities and raise recognition of what Arlington can offer developers, its citizens and the UTA community.
Each year, Arlington's Office of Economic Development officials submit projects that have been funded or are under construction, Payne said.
Payne said the ranking also highlights what areas of the Metroplex are “hot,” or have a lot of activity.
Payne said Arlington is growing and changing rapidly as a college town, which makes the environment more interesting for the student population.
“In Arlington in particular, its relationship with UTA is very close,” he said.
Many companies the city talks to like the idea of having a strong relationship with UTA for research or potential employment opportunities for graduate students, Payne said.
“I guess that we’re just trying to be like, in terms of DFW, the DFAW or something like that,” said Garret Martin, marketing and management senior.
Martin said a new Rangers stadium is unnecessary, but will be worth it if it attracts more families and employment opportunities.
“With all this new development, Arlington does need to focus more on its citizens,” he said.
This can be done by offering benefits to residents, such as a public transit system or keeping taxes from being excessive to compensate for new developments, Martin said.
However, he said the additions to the city will give more employment opportunities to UTA students. He said he is considering living in Arlington after he graduates.
“DFW is obviously exploding, so we’re trying to be the place that gets the major benefits of it,” he said.
Finance junior Anthony Parker said living in Dallas already gives him many internship and job opportunities. Now, with Arlington ranked No. 1 in economic development, he said he will consider options closer to UTA.
Parker said Arlington is known as a tourist spot, but that it wants to grow to attract more visitors and give to its citizens.
When deciding to attend UTA, he said he never fully considered the attractions, such as AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. However, he said Arlington could become more of a college town if more businesses were closer to campus, like the empty facilities in College Park District.
In the end, Payne said the goal is to expand the city’s tax base and create employment opportunities.
If the new Rangers ballpark wasn’t included in the submission, Payne said Arlington would have come second to Plano.
“That’s a blank canvas right now,” he said. “We really don’t know what that answer is going to be.”
Payne said although he doesn’t know where Arlington will rank next time, the city had a good run these past three years. The city will always rank well if it consistently has strong economic development, he said.
“It’s good to be in an exciting, active city like this,” Payne said. “We’re doing some pretty cool things and you can see the results.”