T Top Manufacturing relocated within Wise County to Endeavor Bridgeport in October 2011.
Industrial sites co-exist with the off-road recreational park at Endeavor Bridgeport.
T Top opened its Bridgeport facility with 40 employees in October.
Outside office hours, the former quarry site attracts off-roading enthusiasts.
Endeavor drives Success
Businesses, leisure develop side by side in Bridgeport
An abandoned rock quarry is not an obvious engine for economic development. But for visionary members of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), it was an opportunity to transform a blighted area for the community’s benefit.
The quarry, which had been repossessed by a bank, became the focus of BEDC’s Endeavor Bridgeport initiative. Teaming with Jerome Frank Investments, BEDC refined its vision for Endeavor Bridgeport to include an industrial park as well as recreational and park space for public use in the North Texas city of 6,000.
“Our focus on this park is to do something unique, and something that is a regional draw,” says William Myers, executive director of BEDC.
Boasting about 300 acres of industrial space and more than 600 acres of parks and recreational space, Endeavor Bridgeport is off and running, attracting visitors, businesses and acclaim.
T Top expected to open its Bridgeport facility with 20 employees and promised to increase to 36 within two years of opening. However, the company bettered that pledge, opening in October with
Rocks and Steel
The first Endeavor Bridgeport project had most of its features already on-hand — rocks. The abandoned quarry provided an ideal setting for an off-highway vehicle park. For a fee, four-wheel drive vehicles and their owners literally crawl amongst and over the rocks. The park has proved to be more than just a local pile of rocks, hosting competitions that bring in participants and spectators alike.
“That brings in dollars to surrounding businesses and hotels,” Myers says. “Any given weekend, there are 20 to 40 vehicles out there. And the park does generate a profit through usage fees.”
Camping areas, walking and hiking trails are in future development plans.
The first industrial tenant moved into Endeavor Bridgeport in October, when T Top Manufacturing occupied its new, 47,000-square-foot facility. T Top, which specializes in stainless steel and aluminum fabrication, had outgrown its facility in nearby unincorporated Chico and needed to expand. Moving to Endeavor Bridgeport meant that T Top could relocate a few miles south staying in the same county and school district.
“I wanted to be a part of a very professional development that will not only protect my investment in the property, but potentially bring customers to me,” says Mark Tate, T Top’s president. “I feel like there will be some good industrial growth around us here.”
The entire Endeavor Bridgeport site is part of a 1,200-acre tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) created by BEDC. In the TIRZ, the unimproved land’s value is the base value. Added facilities increase that value, known as the increment. Taxes on the original value continue to go to their original destination, but a percentage of the taxes on the increment are available for reinvestment back into the land within the TIRZ. In the case of Endeavor Bridgeport, funds must be used for public improvements, including roads, water, sewer lines and more.
Along with developing parks for public use and industrial facilities for economic development, the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation has an eye out for the land through sustainable development.
“I wanted to be a part of a very professional development that will not only protect my investment in the property, but potentially bring customers to me.”
— Mark Tate,
T Top Manufacturing
“In addition to the parks development, we want to have sustainable development and good stewardship of the land,” says William Myers, BEDC’s executive director. Various measures are in place to keep the Endeavor Bridgeport as natural as possible, including:
- solar-powered and LED backlit signage;
- solar-powered street lamps;
- walking and hiking paths using natural crushed
rock as a base material;
- minimal concrete culverts and retention ponds; and
“It’s a fantastic development and redevelopment tool,” Myers says. “Say we get a real property improvement of $15 to $20 million in value, you can see how that could really impact our ability to put in infrastructure.” TR
High praise for Bridgeport’s endeavor
For its vision and efforts, the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) honored the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) with an award for “Exemplary Achievement in Community Economic Development” for its Endeavor Bridgeport site.
The cooperation of BEDC and T Top Manufacturing in securing a facility to relocate the manufacturing company helped secure the award.
“Our group thought it was a very creative project,” says Carlton Schwab, TEDC’s president. “It combined economic development with sustainable development and parks development, all in one area. They were impressed with that, especially for a community the size of Bridgeport.”
Judging for the annual acknowledgement is based on five criteria:
- community commitment;
- measured objectives; and
- secondary benefits.
“It’s a cool thing that they’ve done there, and they’ve got space left to grow,” Schwab says.