Could Southwest Airlines begin looking west? The airline most associated with Dallas Love Field, its home airport, is bursting at the seams there and soon will be let loose from its restrictions, which kept it from expanding to other airports in the region. 

Ryan Green, executive vice president at Southwest, spoke recently to the Downtown Rotary Club in Fort Worth. The company is definitely looking to expand its North Texas presence.

“We’re full up at Love Field,” he told the club. 

The reason for the airline’s interest in additional airports goes back to the long and complicated history of the Wright Amendment. Basically, when startup airline Southwest Airlines first began serving passengers out of Love Field in 1971, it only flew a few routes in the state. When airlines were deregulated in the late 1970s, Fort Worth Rep. Jim Wright, to protect Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, got Southwest to agree to only fly in Texas and states immediately contiguous to the Lone Star State. That agreement also limited Southwest’s expansion to other airports in North Texas. But that agreement ends in 2025. 

Green noted that the agreement is ending just as North Texas, and Tarrant County in particular, are seeing record growth. Fort Worth’s population added more residents than any other city in the country in 2022, according to new Census data, and is closing in on having one million residents. 

At the same time, DFW Airport recently approved a $4.8 billion plan to build a new terminal. Southwest could certainly apply for gates at DFW Airport. But the company is keeping its options open, Green said. 

McKinney’s National Airport is in fast-growing Collin County and could be one option, but since growth also is taking place to the west, Southwest officials are looking for options here as well, Green said. The city of Dallas could expand Love Field, but that would take action on the part of several agencies and the area around Love Field is built up with both population and businesses, he said. 

At the same time Southwest Airlines is looking at North Texas airport options, it is also increasing its emphasis on the business traveler. The company now works with corporate travel departments to attract corporate accounts, Green said. 

“That’s actually something new for us, and it’s now a big emphasis,” he said. 

Tapas for Crockett Row 

Si Tapas Restaurant and Bar is coming to Fort Worth. Younger Partners announced June 6 that the firm, which purchased Crockett Row in August 2022, has executed a lease with Texas tapas pioneer Ildefonso Jimenez to open a Fort Worth location of Si Tapas in the Crockett Row development. The lease includes 4,275 square feet of space at 2949 Crockett St. 

Ildefonso will add exclusive items to the Fort Worth menu such as cochinillo and lechazo. The restaurant is expected to open in the fall. Si Tapas has been operating in Dallas for several years. 

H-E-B adds another brand to North Texas 

H-E-B is opening the first location of its Joe V’s Smart Shop by H-E-B stores outside of Houston in Dallas. 

Joe V’s Smart Shop by H-E-B is a lower price grocery format. H-E-B has plans to build its first area Joe V’s at the corner of W. Wheatland Road and Highway 67 at 4101 W. Wheatland Road and at 5204 S. Buckner Blvd. The Wheatland store is expected to open in late summer 2024, and the Buckner store will open in spring 2025. Additional details for each store will be shared at each location’s respective groundbreaking ceremony, which will be announced soon.

Each store is typically 55,000 square feet in size and employs about 150. Joe V’s Smart Shop launched in 2010 and currently employs more than 1,500 employees across nine stores in the Houston area.

While no Fort Worth area locations have been announced for the H-E-B brand, they are likely to open here. And they could be important for some areas of Fort Worth where grocery store locations are lacking, known as “food deserts.” Earlier this year, at a retail conference, Bob Young, executive managing director at Weitzman, said the smart shop’s concept could be an interesting move that could help alleviate some of the “food deserts” in the area. 

Industrial park for Grapevine 

Grapevine has approved construction for a four-building industrial park totalling almost 1 million square feet on 88 acres west of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. ARCO/Murray was selected to plan, design and construct this multiphase development, which plans to break ground in September.

Phase I is a 200, 340 square-foot, rear-load warehouse on 16 acres with 37 dock positions, two drive-in ramps, 119 auto parking spaces, and 49 trailer parking stalls. The building is designed to accommodate up to four tenants.

Phase II includes three buildings totaling 772,040 square feet with 216 dock positions, eight drive-in ramps, and 700-plus auto parking spaces on the remaining 72 acres. ARCO/Murray coordinated the industrial park’s site and phasing plan, building and civil design, and permitting approvals through the various government entities, including the city of Grapevine, Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Historical Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

‘Get the government off our backs!’ 

Before you utter those words, residents of Tarrant County might want to think twice. 

According to a recent report by The Perryman Group, Tarrant County received over $24.6 billion in federal funds, the most of any county in Texas, due to the major concentration of defense contractors such as Lockheed and Bell. 

In 2022, nearly $277.6 billion was spent in the state by various agencies of the federal government, according to the report. That’s actually down a bit from $349.7 billion in 2021 and $321 billion in 2020. Those higher numbers were due to assorted COVID-19 stimulus packages, according to the report. 

Around the state, using 2019 data, The Perryman Report says the most federal spending in the state broke down like this: Social Security Administration, with over $72 billion; the Department of Defense with $43.8 billion; the Departments of Health and Human Services with $38.8 billion; Veterans Affairs with $18.9 billion; Agriculture with $9.7 billion; Education with $6.9 billion; and Transportation with $5.2 billion. Spending less that $5 billion in the state was the Department of Homeland Security with $3 billion; Housing and Urban Development with $2.6 billion; National Aeronautics and Space Administration with $1.3 billion; and the Railroad Retirement Board with $902.7 million. 

The Perryman Report study notes that in 2019, there were almost 240,000 contracts in place from the federal government. 

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Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at  At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Robert Francis is a Fort Worth native and journalist who has extensive experience covering business and technology locally, nationally and internationally. He is also a former president of the local Society...