Cranes pointing toward the sky and workers in orange construction vests are found across Arlington.
But commercial construction is on the decline.
After a year that saw $517 million in new construction projects come to Arlington in 2022, commercial construction in the city is down more than $150 million in 2023, according to the planning and development department.
“We’re seeing more larger-scale projects this year, so there’s less volume this way, compared to the many, many small scale (projects),” said Ariel Stermer, the department’s assistant building official.
Another difference is the increase in new commercial remodels, which were valued at more than $25 million over the valuation in 2022.
“It’s also about focusing on maintaining existing infrastructure before building all-new,” Stermer said.
Overall, including residential buildings, building valuations for construction projects during 2023 reached $972 million, an 8.66% decrease from 2022, when values reached more than $1 billion.
The city’s new commercial construction valuations fell to $342 million, marking a 34% decrease from the previous fiscal year’s $517 million.
“There’s always a cycle to permitting that comes and goes with big projects,” said Britton Cunningham Merritt, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “But, we’re confident the Arlington economy is strong.”
While new construction slowed, commercial remodel valuations told a different story. Peaking at $91.2 million during the fourth quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, those projects totaled $197.2 million for the year — a 15.4% increase from last year’s $171 million.
Top commercial permits issued
» $85M Medical City Arlington
» $65M Arlington High School Fine Arts and Dual Language Academy
» $61M TCCD Southeast Campus
» $45M Arlington Active Adult Center
» $35M Arlington Lot J (One Rangers Way)
» $35M Matlock Flats
Among the standout projects is the $180 million renovation and expansion of Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus.
The campus will gain about 100,000 square feet and will be large enough to accommodate enrollment through 2030. TCC’s renovations will infuse new life into the educational infrastructure of the city, said Judith Carrier, the school’s founding president, who retired in 2011.
“We are part of the community, and the community loves what Tarrant County College does and what it provides for students,” Carrier said.
TCC noted on its permit application that it spent $61.3 million in 2023 on the remodel.
Another major contributor increasing commercial valuations is the $144 million Medical City Arlington project.
The project was the highest-valued commercial construction permit issued in Arlington in 2023.
The hospital will gain 127,000 square feet, so Medical City can add more than 60 patient care beds. Construction is set to finish by early 2025, according to Medical City Arlington.
“We’re really proud to continue to invest in the future of the Arlington community,” Sharn Barbarin, CEO of Medical City Arlington, said in an email statement.
Other projects contributing include the Arlington High School Fine Arts & Dual Language Academy, an extension of Arlington High School; the $55.5 million Arlington Active Adult Center; and two apartment projects, One Rangers Way, a luxury apartment complex next to Globe Life Field, and Matlock Flats, a low-income apartment complex.
Arlington ISD spent $65 million this year on the school upgrades, while the city budgeted $45 million for its Arlington Active Adult Center. Both are expected to open by winter 2024, according to the city.
One Rangers Way, a partnership between the Texas Rangers and real estate development firm The Cordish Companies, spent $35 million.
Developers of Matlock Flats, located at the intersection of Matlock and Eden roads, also spent $35 million.
Matthew Sgroi is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.