The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that Midland and Odessa, Texas, ranked first and second respectively in economic growth in the United States for 2012. Midland showed a GDP growth of 14.4 percent while Odessa followed closely behind with 14.1 percent gain. The growth is thanks to robust oil and gas production happening in the Permian Basin.
The energy production itself has fueled the growth, but so have a number of ancillary and support services necessary to keep the production going and meet the needs of the cities’ growing populations, including more housing, infrastructure, retail and various other commercial developments.
“There’s certainly a lot of economic activity in the Permian Basin with all of the drilling activity and oilfield services business that accompany,” says Rob Huthnance, managing director of development and construction firm Avera. “All of those involved in that activity need a home and a place to house business.”
In 2011, Avera joined investment firm The Don Evans Group, Greenway Investments and the land’s owner Younger Partners, for a promising mixed-used development serving the Permian Basin. It’s called the Bombardier Business Park – a 240-acre site that was once home to the Midland Army Air Field Bombardier School, where a number of WWII flyers got their bombardier skills necessary for war. Though for a very different use, the land is as vital to the community now as it was then.
“This area’s population has grown 20 to 30 percent over the last couple of years and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation,” says Shan Moon, vice president of The Don Evans Group. “The growth and construction has exploded to meet that demand, but as more companies continue to move into the area, they find there is no supply; it’s dried up. We recognized that need.”
Building on Vision
The investment and development partners worked closely with city of Midland to make sure its vision lined up with the area’s future needs. The partners settled on a mixed-use site with a combination of commercial office, industrial and retail spaces. This prime location sits at the entrance to the Midland Airport, is within a 10- to 15-minute drive of Midland and Odessa and has direct access to major highways going in all directions to oilfield locations.
Development of the first phase of the Bombardier Business Park is underway and the group has created a master plan for the initial 79 acres. The first phase plan calls for office buildings on the perimeter facing Loop 40, creating a pleasing visual for those entering and exiting the airport off of Loop 40. Industrial buildings and warehouses serving the oil and gas community will be built within the interior of the park. On the western perimeter parallel to highway 1788, the master plan includes a number of retail spaces such as fast-food chains. On the northwest corner, the group carved out space ideal for a gas station operator.
The development reached a construction milestone in February when it completed its first building – a 12,000-square-foot industrial site that the group is in negotiations to lease out. The group is also building out infrastructure including streets and city utilities such as water and sewer.
“We have several plans that will be orchestrated as demand dictates,” Huthnance says. “We are negotiating with a couple of companies that are looking for us to develop specifically to meet their needs, and we are also exploring additional speculative industrial buildings to satisfy current market demand.”
Moon says the Bombardier Business Park is flexible when it comes to leasing or selling space. The group plans to build a mix of spec space – in which it assumes upfront risk and builds based on forecasted demand – and built-to-suit spaces, where tenants, whether leasing or buying, dictate “the bells and whistles of the building,” Moon says. “They can format the building to meet their specific needs, which is a huge benefit for those companies.”
Whichever option future occupants choose, Moon says they will be moving into a business park that outshines many others in the area, not only in location but in function, as well.
“This is a prime location and will continue to be as we develop it,” Moon says. “Our ownership and financing structure allows maximum flexibility for companies in that we have the ability to construct high quality facilities that can either be leased or purchased by users.
“Unlike many other industrial sites in the area, this site will have city utilities, city streets and will be maintained to a higher standard,” Moon continues. “Most industrial sites have septic tanks and water wells they have to utilize to manage their buildings. The city utilities at Bombardier Business Park mitigate the risk associated with maintaining water wells and septic systems.”