ARLINGTON — The City Council unanimously approved a tax abatement and incentives Tuesday for a $20 million industrial project in southeast Arlington that will save the developer nearly $700,000 in property taxes and fees.The council approved a seven-year, 75 percent property tax abatement for Exeter 4900 Sherry L.P. The developer, which bought the Arlington Commerce Center development at the southeast corner of New York Avenue and Bardin Road last year, plans to build an 821,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on 45 acres at the site.City officials say such space is sorely needed and will help recruit sizable industrial tenants to Arlington. Exeter’s project will be the largest industrial space built since the Forum 303 Mall was redeveloped near Texas 360 in 2007, Economic Development Manager Bruce Payne said.“We have a substantial supply of industrial space in Arlington, but we are down to a 4 percent vacancy rate,” Payne said. “We are almost full. Developers are starting to look at new opportunities to develop more space.”Exeter’s project is expected to increase the site’s real property value by $15 million by 2015, according to a city staff report. The Arlington Commerce Center already includes two large industrial buildings —totaling 776,698 square feet — that were built before the recession, Payne said.The third building is expected to be completed in January, said CBRE, the Dallas-based brokerage hired to lease the space.The tax abatement will save Exeter about $510,300 in city property taxes over seven years, city staff estimated. The council also approved a refund of $187,000 in impact fees.The city expects to collect about $115,000 annually in property taxes from the project during the abatement period, from 2015 to 2021.As part of the project, the developer will extend the two-lane Sherry Street, at a cost of more than $1 million, to improve access to the property.“New tenants bring jobs and equipment with them that hits the tax rolls. It creates this package of benefits for the city,” Payne said.Resident Richard Weber, who opposed the abatement, was the only public speaker on the deal.“If the need is so great, why are we giving them more money?” Weber said.Barney Sinclair, principal and investment officer with Exeter in Dallas, said active industrial leasing along the Interstate 20 corridor prompted the project.Speculative building in the industrial markets slowed in the down economy.“We feel the time is right,” Sinclair said in a statement. “Ten deals over 400,000 square feet have been completed along the I-20 corridor in the past two years with little new supply. Users have gravitated to this corridor because of an easy connectivity to highways for regional distribution, proximity to the UP Intermodal Hub and strong labor pool.”The new building will have 200 dock doors and the potential for 175 trailer parking spots, Sinclair said.“We are very excited that the City of Arlington will have the benefit of this new industrial space. Over 800,000 square feet of quality development opportunity will allow us to be more competitive in the national and global marketplace, especially to larger industrial tenants looking to make Arlington their home,” Deputy City Manager Don Jakeway said in a statement.Dave Anderson with CBRE will represent Exeter in leasing the building.
Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST