Gainesville, TX — The City of Gainesville City Council on July 6th unanimously approved an agreement between the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) and Strategic Rail Industrial, LLC for the purchase and development of Gateway Industrial Park.
Philadelphia-based Strategic Rail Industrial will finance and construct the infrastructure for a rail-served development, including a rail switch from the BNSF main line that runs parallel to the park, industrial speculative buildings, built-to-suit facilities and a truck transfer facility that can be utilized by Gainesville businesses.
“Strategic Rail appreciates this opportunity to work with the City of Gainesville, the GEDC and BSNF to develop this modern, rail-served industrial park. Strong growth in the area surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex makes this site an excellent choice for businesses building in Texas. We view this strategic project as a way to provide needed area employment, tax revenue, and other opportunities for Gainesville and greater Cooke County.” said Jonathan Gilbert, Chief Commercial Officer of Strategic Rail Industrial.
Strategic Rail will purchase Gateway Industrial Park for $5 million. A non-refundable option payment of $25,000 for a six-month option period of the park will be applicable to the sale price, with $2.5 million to be paid at closing and $2.475 million to be placed into an economic development promissory note with the GEDC. Strategic Rail can earn forgiveness towards the note balance through capital investment and job creation over a seven year period. The firm will report its progress on an annual basis to the GEDC Board of Directors.
The GEDC, which began discussions with Strategic Rail on this project in October 2020, will continue to act as a recruitment and marketing extension for locating projects suited for the development by partnering with Strategic Rail and affiliates.
According to an economic impact study by Impact DataSource, an Austin-based firm, over the first 20 years of operations of the facility an estimated 2,360 permanent direct and indirect jobs will be created, and an estimated $274.2 million will be added to local tax rolls. The Park will have an estimated 1.79 million square feet of new occupied space for manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, and logistics businesses that will be built over five years.
“The GEDC is proud and excited to welcome Strategic Rail to Gainesville and is positive that this project will transform Gainesville’s economic future,” said Ryan Morris, CEO of First State Bank and President of the GEDC Board of Directors.
Gateway Industrial Park, completed in 2014, has been a recruiting asset in the GEDC’s efforts to locate industrial projects to Gainesville. It’s location in proximity to Interstate 35 and US Highway 82 is attractive for logistics and the area workforce suits industrial development. The Park is 144 acres of shovel-ready land, with utilities and infrastructure in place for development. It was designated as a BNSF Certified Site in November 2020.
“We are very excited to partner with the GEDC and BNSF on this rail served industrial park and have already generated significant interest from a number of companies interested in locating their manufacturing and distribution operation to Gainesville.” said Craig Hughes, Managing Principal for Hughes Commercial Real Estate and Development, LLC the real estate broker and development partner for Gateway Industrial Park. “Gateway Industrial Park is strategically situated north of DFW to take advantage of the rapidly growing North Texas market.” said Hughes.
Despite the prime proximity to the BNSF main line, the lack of a rail switch in the park has been a deciding factor for many companies. “We would conduct site visits with companies that were interested in bringing a rail-served project to the park, but without existing rail infrastructure onsite, Gainesville would often be a finalist for these projects and then be eliminated as a result of the non-existent rail,” shared Audrey Schroyer, Executive Director of the GEDC. Strategic Rail’s plans to construct and operate a switch which will allow for multiple tracks within the park now makes Gainesville a true competitor for large-scale projects.
The construction of Gateway Industrial Park began under the leadership of Tommy James, former President of the GEDC Board of Directors and a member of the Board until June 2021. “A transformative project like this has been years in the making and it could not have come at a better time,” he said. “I have been a part of numerous conversations as to how we would make this park a rail-served site, and this project with Strategic Rail is the best solution to making it happen.”
Strategic Rail is expected to begin track construction and site development immediately following closing of the sale.
About Strategic Rail Industrial
Strategic Rail Industrial is an affiliate of Strategic Rail Finance (based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and Strategic Rail Capital (based in Greenwich, Connecticut). For over 25 years Strategic Rail has been an advisor and investor in the rail industry, completing projects in 48 US states and Canadian provinces. Strategic Rail affiliates are presently advising, developing, and providing investment banking services for projects across North America exceeding $1.7 billion.
About Gainesville Economic Development Corporation
The GEDC is a Type B EDC formed in 1994, funded by ¼ of 1% of the sales and use tax for the City of Gainesville to assist in industrial and economic growth through targeted attraction and recruiting efforts and retaining existing primary employers.