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Fort Worth Is Primed For Corporate Relocations, But Has An Office Supply Problem

The city of Fort Worth has the vibe, the culture and the quality of life that companies relocating to Texas desire, but without more single-tenant corporate campuses or office buildings that can house large tenants, mega-corporate relocations remain somewhat of a challenge for Cow Town. 

Downtown Fort Worth

"On the corporate relocation side, I know our chamber and economic development council are active in fielding people looking to relocate to the area or relocating their headquarters especially from areas in California and New York," M2G Ventures co-founder Jessica Miller Essl said at Bisnow's The Future of Fort Worth webinar Thursday.

Fort Worth's downtown and surrounding areas are seen locally as prime relocation territory.  

But to bring in a Zappos or an Amazon, Fort Worth is going to have to tell a bigger story and help relocating companies envision their futures in the city, Majestic Realty Executive Vice President Craig Cavileer said. 

On environment, that's easy, but there's a big missing piece, Cavileer said.

"Frankly, we don't have a building for them."

Speculative office development is hard to do right now, and is not a key part of the development cycle in Fort Worth, Miller Essl said. 

And without the creation of more large campuses and spec office buildings that can easily accommodate larger regional or corporate tenants, the city will face a corporate office supply problem, even though the demand is definitely there. 

Cavileer noted brokers looking for corporate campuses in the urban core of Fort Worth usually have one thing to say: "Where would we go?"

"We don't have a large urban campus," Cavileer said. 

There is potential for the office market to benefit if Pier 1 Imports fully exits its long-term corporate campus in Fort Worth after bankruptcy, and the struggling oil and gas industry may leave some larger footprints open, Essl Miller said.

There's also some potential for adaptable reuse in the urban core, but without help from the city and a plan to create strategic office development, particularly with spec building mostly off the table today, larger deals will remain a challenge on the supply side.

"We have the fundamentals that are needed to be attractive," Essl Miller said. "It's sourcing the right real estate for those [companies] and putting [those deals] together."