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'The Market Has Arrived': Investors Flood Grayson County Amid Chip Plant Investments

Land speculation near future semiconductor chip plants in Grayson County is on the rise as buyers eager to capitalize on the area’s promising future descend in droves.

But it hasn't always been this way. Commercial development in the county's Sherman and Denison has been sleepy for years, said John St. Clair, a Younger Partners executive managing director who has been brokering deals in the area for three decades. Located an hour north of Dallas, investors bought land in Grayson County, but few projects went vertical.

Now that is changing.

Construction got underway on TI's chip plant in Sherman in December 2022.

The county's dynamic was flipped on its head when Texas Instruments and GlobiTech announced they would invest billions to house chip manufacturing plants in Sherman.

The area is shifting from an investor market to a user-developer market, St. Clair said.

“They landed the chip plants, which made Sherman and Denison wake up,” he said. “It’s the place to be in the future.”  

Developers began breaking ground on thousands of new residences in Grayson County after pandemic lockdowns and the rise of remote work pushed city dwellers further north. Since the chip announcements, a new group of investors has emerged — those who are looking to acquire land that could be developed by industrial suppliers to TI and GlobiTech.

Just last week, Younger Partners brokered the sale of a 76-acre parcel in Denison. The buyer, Investment Catalysts of Southlake, bought the property because of its proximity to the chip plants, St. Clair said.

“From the day it hit the market, there was no lack of interest,” Younger Partners Associate Davis Willoughby said. “We had at least two offers that were very near expectations from prominent groups also looking to buy strategic land holdings up there.”

Tony Kaai, president of the Denison Development Alliance, said land speculation in Denison went gangbusters following the TI and GlobiTech announcements. Dozens of investors are parking money in the area knowing the county is on the precipice of unprecedented growth, he said.

“These land developers are pretty sharp, and they’re way ahead of the curve,” he said. “They know what’s going to happen even before we do.”

Denison’s population grew by about 16% between 2010 and 2022, per the U.S. Census Bureau. An estimated 26,800 people call the city home today, and that number could more than double by 2050, city projections show.

Denison is located more than 75 miles north of Dallas.

Sales tax income has grown in tandem, up by 44% since 2018, in large part due to the surge in e-commerce that occurred during the pandemic. At the same time, thousands of new residents have moved into Denison, further expanding the sales tax base that provides the funding DDA needs to guide economic development.

“We had a really good economy, everything was good,” Kaai said. “Then Covid hit, and as soon as we started coming out of Covid, we saw a gold rush of developers.” 

To prepare for the growth, the city updated its comprehensive plan, adopted a new zoning map, passed multiple bonds to fund new schools and infrastructure, and partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to build a new intake structure at Lake Texoma that will mitigate pressure on the area’s water supply.

For DDA’s part, Kaai is working to position Denison’s three city-owned industrial parks as homes for the semiconductor supplier industry. The alliance is partnering with VanTrust Real Estate to build a 210K SF spec building that will be move-in-ready when tenants inevitably come knocking.

“It’s a very hot market,” he said. “We are just trying to manage it professionally and make sure we can get the right deals done that contribute to smart growth for the city.”

Younger Partners has other listings in the area, and interest has been ripe for those parcels, St. Clair and Willoughby said. The chip plants are projected to bring thousands of new jobs and economic prosperity to Grayson County, ushering a new era of development that will propel investment for decades to come. 

“The market has arrived,” Willoughby said.