Good News – April 2017

Dickies Arena – Construction is beginning on the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, next to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the city’s Cultural District at the Fort Worth Skylineintersection of Harley Avenue & Gendy Street.  The 14,000 seat venue, going by the brand name of Fort Worth-based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., is expected to open in November 2019.  The facility has already landed a major college basketball event — the first and second rounds of the 2022 March Madness tournament.  It’s the first time since 1970 that Fort Worth will host the NCAA event.   Fort Worth also will host the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships for four years, beginning in 2019. The event will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center the first year and then move to the new arena in 2020.  

AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group Construction on a $113 million, 40-acre campus for AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group will start this month in Carrollton, which will make enough room for the North Texas company to add more than 1,000 employees.  The company plans to relocate its regional office to the OfficAmerisourceBergenes at Austin Ranch near Parker Road and Plano Parkway in Carrollton upon completion of the facility.  The company plans to initially bring 1,184 employees to the new campus in 2018, with another wave of 800 employees joining the group a few years later.

Carrollton expects the company will employ up to 3,023 workers in the future, with an average annual salary of $72,000.  Based in Pennsylvania, the company is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical service companies with over $140 billion in annual sales.

Housing starts—the metric tracking the number of homes on which construction has already begun—dropped 6.8% from February to March 2017…however, it was up 9.2% from the same month a year ago.  The number of finished new homes, overall, hit just over 1.2 million homes in March, according to the report. That’s up 3.2% from February and 13.4% over the same time last year. Builders secured more permits, about 1.26 million, in March, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Permits are a strong indication of how many new homes will go up over the next few months.  That was a 3.6% jump from February and an impressive 17% increase from March 2016.  Permits for buildings with five or more units soared 18.3% from February and 26.1% year-over-year, according to the report.  Meanwhile, permits issued for single-family homes dipped ever so slightly, by 1.1% from February to March. However, they were up 13.5% from the same month a year earlier.

Farmer Brothers Coffee currently has about 175 employees at the Northlake headquarters, with employment expected to reach about 225.  Employees moved into the $90 milshutterstock_624512828lion corporate complex, at the northeast corner of Texas 114 and Interstate 35W across from the Texas Motor Speedway, earlier this year. It includes executive and administrative offices, 100,000 square feet of space for roasting beans, 300,000 square feet for distribution and labs where new blends are tested.  After coffee beans arrive in burlap sacks from about 25 different countries in Central America, South America or Africa, the beans are cleaned in a machine to remove chaff or twigs and move through tubing into the roasting area. There, large roasters prepare beans in batches, producing 26 to 28 million pounds of coffee per year. The roasted beans are then packaged into bags, sometimes ground and then moved to the shipping area.  Farmer Brothers recently performed its first test brew in Northlake and expects its full new roasting area to become operational in the next quarter. The company also roasts coffee in Houston and Portland, Ore.   The company supplies coffee to a variety of food-service clients from restaurant chains such as Einstein’s Bagels and McDonald’s to airports, convenience stores and casinos including the Hard Rock.  Farmer Brothers has consolidated distribution centers from Oklahoma City and Houston into the new Northlake facility. The warehouse, which is heavily automated, handles about 255,000 pounds of coffee each week.  So the next time you enjoy a cup of coffee in a restaurant or an airport, remember that the beans may have come from Northlake, Texas.  

New Jobs in DFW – More than 119,000 new jobs were added in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the 12-month period ending in February. The total employment base inJobsAmerisourceBergen North Texas grew by about 3.5%.  That’s second only to the New York City metro area for total employment gains during the year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Atlanta area was third, with 95,400 new jobs.  D-FW’s employment market has been growing by more than 100,000 new jobs a year for the last few years.  More than 200 people a day are moving to North Texas — many of them seeking new jobs, economists say.  D-FW had more new jobs during the year ending February than all of the other major Texas metro areas combined.  Austin added 27,000 jobs in the 12-month period, and San Antonio saw a 21,700 job increase. Even Houston — which has been hard hit in the last couple of years by lower oil prices — had a 19,300 year-over-year job gain as of February.

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