Expanding industrial corridor brings jobs, tax revenue to Pflugerville
16 May 2023
As the Central Texas area becomes a hub for industrial megaprojects, including multibillion-dollar projects such as the Samsung semiconductor plant in Taylor and the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, industrial development in the city of Pflugerville is taking a different shape. Pflugerville is dotted with a multitude of smaller business parks and industrial developments, many of which are situated on or near the city’s largest thoroughfare, SH 130.
During fiscal years 2020-22, the city confirmed 26 projects totaling 5.68 million square feet and an expected $1.06 billion investment, according to the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. In FY 2019 the PCDC reported bringing in 9 projects for a total investment of $42 million. The highway is one of several draws to the city for developers, said Amy Madison, PCDC Executive Director.
However, Madison said if the city is to make the most use of its valuable undeveloped land along SH 130, it must plan carefully.“ We’re blessed to have a superhighway that is contiguous with so many undeveloped acres,” Madison said. “It’s a rare sight, especially ... in the Austin [metro].”
One of the larger industrial developments underway in Pflugerville is 130 Crossing Industrial Park, located at the northeast corner of Pecan Street and SH 130. Building materials supplier Wisenbaker Building Services moved into 130 Crossing in early 2023 and brought with it 245 industrial jobs. The project developer, Dallas-based Ironwood Realty Partners, broke ground on the last phase of the 130 Crossing development in April. Completion on Phase 3 is expected in late 2023, after which 130 Crossing will have just over 1 million square feet of industrial space. Ironwood President Bob Rice said SH 130 was the foremost reason for the development’s location.
“I’m a big fan of freeway frontage,” Rice said. “The tollway really creates an ability for these firms to get their products through without getting the congestion of I-35.”
Madison said Pflugerville is in an advantageous position for attracting companies since the portion of SH 130 running through the city still has a wealth of undeveloped land along its length, despite all of the recent completed and ongoing development projects there.
Sam Owen, managing director at Stream Realty Partners, a firm involved in 130 Crossing as well as several other projects, said Pflugerville and the Central Texas region are likely to look very different a decade down the road because more industrial businesses want to call Central Texas home.
Ben Bufkin, managing principal at Endeavor Real Estate Group—an agency involved with several commercial and industrial projects in Pflugerville—said companies are choosing Pflugerville for its proximity to a variety of different companies, services and developments.
“[Pflugerville is] uniquely suited to attract the widest range of corporate users—whether it’s data centers, pure logistics, manufacturing or somebody who’s going to support Samsung [or] Tesla,” Bufkin said.
One effort Pflugerville is making regarding industrial development is ensuring space exists for smaller industrial tenants seeking to support larger companies. Madison said with many large companies considering moving to the area, often a single tenant will take up entire buildings or parks, leaving few options for smaller companies. To that end, the PCDC has subdivided some of its industrial space so multiple tenants can occupy spaces in a single building.
Madison said that the strategy of subdividing space will be key to managing the finite space available for development along SH 130. “Our stock in the city for facilities that are available is at an all-time low right now,” Madison said.
One example of this approach to industrial development is the Pecan 130 Business Park, located at the southwest corner of SH 130 and Pecan Street. The development is home to several industrial buildings, each with multiple tenants including 3D printing company Cumberland Additive and the North American headquarters of electric vehicle technology manufacturer REE Automotive.
Pecan 130 Business Park is also home to batting cage center D-BAT Austin. Cassie Simenson, D-BAT assistant general manager, said having space adjacent to the tollway is as beneficial for a business such as D-BAT as it is for larger manufacturing and distribution businesses because it provides visibility and ease of access.
The benefits of industrial
Rice said a major advantage of all the industrial development on the way is that it creates tax revenue with minimal need for further development such as houses and schools. Industrial development can also bring jobs at a variety of skill levels, from warehouse and manufacturing labor to more specialized positions at facilities such as data centers.
The PCDC estimates that during fiscal years 2020-22, new industrial developments created 2,885 positions in Pflugerville, up from 539 new jobs created in 2019. Rice said it is important for developers to partner with cities and residents to ensure those benefits do not come at the expense of the community.
“When you get into development, you’re getting married to the community, so you want to make sure you work together and that everybody’s goals are aligned,” Rice said.