What’s the real reason Rockwall County is #2 in the nation for job growth?

ROCKWALL, Texas – Rockwall County has earned the prestigious designation of second in the nation for job growth from 2010-2012, with a growth rate of 13%. CNN Money magazine published its annual “Where the Jobs Are” list earlier this month and Rockwall County was ranked number two, behind Columbia County, Georgia. In August, 2011, Rockwall County took the number one position on the list when the measurement scanned the 10-year period, 2000-2010. Rockwall County and Utah County were the only two counties to hold a position on the top 10 list for both periods.

CNN Money cited aerospace, logistics, defense and manufacturing companies which have expanded or relocated to Rockwall County, as one of the primary reasons for the growth. Rockwall Economic Development Corporation (REDC) President and CEO, Sheri Franza believes there’s much more to the equation. “There’s no doubt that the companies in these industries have created jobs and contributed to our job growth rate,” said Franza. “ But there are other factors at work here too, such as Rockwall’s phenomenal retail growth; new Harbor Heights commercial and residential development; accessibility to the greater Dallas area; and quality of life – which is second to none”.

Rockwall has seen a surge of development the last two years with businesses expanding, relocating or building a new facility. Beginning in 2011, Rockwall packaging manufacturer, SPR, announced a 125,000 SF expansion of their facility. Last year, the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation added three new additions to their Rockwall Technology Park and announced another expansion. Plant engineering specialties distributor Hatfield and Company constructed a 50,000 square foot building to relocate their corporate headquarters, manufacturing facility and local sales office in the Rockwall Technology Park. Whitmore Manufacturing Company, which makes specialized lubricants, coatings and sealants, expanded its operation to include a new office area, production area and warehouse at approximately 100,000 SF.

The REDC then announced the largest new industrial build-to-suit project in the history of Rockwall, bringing Bimbo Bakeries USA, the largest bakery company in the USA, to the Rockwall Technology Park. The 300,000-square-foot bakery opened earlier this year and has begun to ship product. The 2012 year ended with Texas A&M University-Commerce at Rockwall signing a lease of 25,500 SF at the Rockwall Technology Park. Earlier this year, Nolan Power Group, provider of standby power equipment and systems, built a 20,000 SF regional headquarters in the Technology Park.

“Rockwall has proven itself a regional winner for major industries relocations and expansions. We compete at a global level and continue to bring Fortune 1000 companies to the Rockwall Technology Park and help our existing businesses expand,” said Franza. “This kind of growth brings jobs to Rockwall and the county at large. Rockwall’s population continues to grow as people want to live and work in our great city.”

Corporations looking for a great location for their headquarters can add Rockwall to their list with the addition of Harbor Heights mixed-use commercial and residential development on the hillside above the Harbor on the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard. The $200 million dollar project will have office, medical, restaurant, retail and multifamily components. “We’re bringing in new restaurants, offices, and medical that will make a significant impact in the community for job growth,” said Russell Phillips, Harbor Heights Developer. “There will be jobs that will be created in the retail, medical, administrative and construction sectors, and then as these companies grow they will continue to be employment centers for job growth here”.

Rockwall is hot on the retail front as well. So hot in fact, that Rockwall County was named the fastest growing retail market in Texas, according to the Texas Retail Survey 2012. The study looked at new retail market growth rates for the 50 largest county retail markets in Texas, ranked by annual retail sales growth from 2006-2011. Rockwall was the fastest growing retail market at 17.9%, which was more than double the next highest market. Anyone who shops Rockwall can see the growth all around them…especially within the last few years.

“Rockwall has attracted big retail brand names to our city recently such as Costco, Tom Thumb, Home Goods, and Jo-Ann Fabrics, as well as a host of popular well-known restaurant chains like Mi Cocina, In-N-Out Burger, Logan’s Roadhouse, Olive Garden, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Freebirds World Burrito, and Campisi’s at the Harbor,” said Franza. “Quality retail and restaurants the caliber and name recognition of these brands help us sell Rockwall to new businesses looking to relocate or expand in Rockwall, and create jobs.”

All this new retail brings in sales tax revenue, and Rockwall is up 16% compared to last year. Commercial permits issued this year will bring new value of $42 million, and new residential permits are up 127% compared to last year. Increases in retail, commercial and residential bring increases in jobs. Rockwall recently announced eight new restaurants that will open for business before year end and will be hiring new employees, thus creating new jobs.

Rockwall’s location is a major factor in job growth as well. With the opening of George Bush Turnpike Eastern Extension, Rockwall businesses can connect with ease to greater Dallas. “This presented Special Products & Mfg., Inc. (SPM) a better opportunity to recruit top talent from a greater pool of candidates,” said Nora Harding, Human Resources Manager at SPM in Rockwall. “The door is open for us to obtain the best qualified candidates for professional, administrative and skilled labor positions in Rockwall.”

Although Rockwall is the smallest county in Texas, it has held its own in this fiercely competitive market and has caught the attention of national business and media. Rockwall was recently recognized as Best Town for Families – Family Circle Magazine, and voted one of the Best Dallas Suburbs – D Magazine. “The attention Rockwall has received the last few years is well deserved. Rockwall, which once was a quiet, bedroom lakeside community, has become a major player on the economic and job front” said Franza.

Rockwall is proud to have earned the title of second in the nation for job growth. The Rockwall Economic Development Corporation continues its mission bringing outstanding companies to our community which broaden and diversify our tax base and create jobs for the citizens in the Rockwall community.

Rockwall Economic Development Corporation
Leslyn Blake 972.772.0025

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