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Is Labor The Top Driver For Relocations To DFW?


Labor availability is the most concerning challenge we face right now, Trammell Crow principal Jeff DeBruin says. Shortages put strains on the subcontractor market, thus creating a headache all the way up the chain.

DPR project exec Jeff Parsons says that since the crash in 2008, he's seen subs getting smarter about their timelines so they don't schedule overlapping jobs. But those stressed timelines make relationships with GCs even more important, often making ownership weary of taking a risk on a new GC or engineering team, DeBruin says.

The search for labor doesn't stop once a project delivers. Office tenants, especially tech tenants, are in a constant search for talent. Parsons says Facebook considered building its new data center in Lubbock, but finalized plans in Fort Worth because of a bigger labor pool. Facebook also liked how Texas' right to work labor market compared to union markets.

When Kubota Tractor was looking at offices for its relocation from California, execs didn't want to compete with the labor market of Lecacy, Frisco and the 121 Corridor, CBRE director Brian Straley says. Instead they wanted their pick of the labor pool in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake. The project will create more than 300 jobs and deliver in Grapevine in 2017. 

Two years ago, clients claimed taxes as the biggest driver of relocations to DFW and Texas. Today, available tech talent is driving the surge, Brian says.

Here are Parsons, panel moderator Adolfson & Peterson Construction SVP Corbett Nichter, DeBruin and Brian.