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Amazon Cements Forney's Status As 'The Next Logical Industrial Frontier'

Forney is scoring big in the North Texas last-mile industrial lotto, with Amazon announcing plans to bring a fulfillment center and 500 jobs to the suburb. 

It is Amazon’s second play in the small Texas town of roughly 27,000 people. The e-commerce retailer previously committed to opening a 200K SF delivery station in Forney for last-mile orders later this year. Other industrial players are also taking notice.

"I probably get two to three phone calls a week from prospects who are looking for areas to build either new light manufacturing, fulfillment centers or distribution," Forney City Manager Anthony Carson Jr. said.

So what makes Forney, a small DFW gateway community heading into East Texas, a popular hub for Amazon and other industrial players?

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"You can make the argument that Forney and Kaufman County are the next logical industrial frontier," CoStar Director of Market Analytics Paul Hendershot said.

"There is no shortage of developable land, along with strong demographic growth, [which] makes it an excellent choice for industrial development. The distribution centers built in Forney can also serve the eastern half of Texas, Tyler and Longview."

There is 11.9M SF of industrial space in the submarket that includes the western half of Kaufman County and Forney, CoStar Group data shows. The market also boasts a low industrial vacancy rate of 1.1%, compared to the rest of DFW, which carries an average vacancy rate of 6.6%, according to Hendershot. 

Amazon isn't the only company to take a bet on Forney lately: The area got 1.2M SF of positive net absorption in the last 12 months, Hendershot said. That is largely thanks to Goodyear, which took down a 1.2M SF distribution center delivered by Hillwood in early 2020.

"That single project accounted for the lion's share of the new construction over the last decade," Hendershot said.

Forney is part of an emerging trend in which smaller cities outside the standard DFW Metroplex are becoming hot spots for younger families looking for cheaper housing and developers hunting for land.  

“Kaufman County was just ranked as the No. 2 fastest-growing county in the nation by the Census Bureau, highlighting the transformative growth that Forney and neighboring cities have experienced over the last decade,” Transwestern Research Manager Andrew Matheny said in a statement. 

Forney is well-positioned to become a last-mile or industrial player, with the city sitting 20 miles east of Dallas and near U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate Highway 20. 

Name-brand tenants like Amazon and Goodyear have put Forney on the map for other industrial end users scouring the Metroplex for fulfillment and distribution space. 

“It certainly has brought forth visibility to the area," Carson said. "The name recognition from Amazon deciding two times that [Forney] is a good location, along with a global brand like Goodyear, is certainly a positive."