Business Not Booming at Business Park

    About six years after the Wichita Falls business park opened ... and after about four million dollars in 4-A tax dollars ... only one new company has built there.
    Roads, sewer, water, electricity, telecomm, and natural gas are all in place ... but the lot sits mostly empty.
   Old Dominion was the first business to go into the new part of the park ... but unfortunately, it hasn't spurred more development yet.
    It's not the outcome anyone wanted to see after investing more than four million dollars in a business park.
    Tim Chase
W.F. Chamber of Commerce & Industry
   "Do I wish it was full and there was a lot more business out there? Sure. Of course we do -- everybody does. Do I think it was a bad investment, a bad use of 4-A dollars? No, I don't know of anybody that thinks it was a bad use of 4-A dollars that was involved in the decision."
    Chamber of Commerce President Tim Chase says it made sense to build when construction costs were lower.  And years ago, the city was running out of vacant buildings to entice new business. 
   "While we'd love to believe that everybody would love to be in Wichita Falls, we're competing with other cities that have buildings that are already vacant and they can move right into."
    Then Wichita Falls lost Vetrotex, ABB, Washex, Delphi, and the call center. 
   "To lose five employers, & then on top of that have a recession -- absolutely that's a disappointment."
   It made more sense for some companies to move into those vacant buildings than to wait for new construction at the business park.
    Chase says for things to turn around, the economy has to keep getting better -- all vacant industrial buildings must be purchased and used -- and then the city may look to private investors to build at the park on speculation that a business will come.  The infrastructure is in place --
   "That's only half the development though. You gotta have the building and offer the whole package."
    Tim Chase says land at the business park is much less expensive than land in the Metroplex ... But he says  that seems to almost be backfiring, because companies assume there must be something wrong with the land.

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