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Texas A&M-Fort Worth already makes impact on local economy

January 22,2023

See Fort Worth Report article by Bob Francis here.

The $350 million Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus hasn’t broken ground yet, but it is already drawing attention from business leaders.

Businesses have been quick to respond to working with Texas A&M, said John Goff, a business leader key in bringing the university to the city.

Deans from several different divisions of A&M and related businesses already are working together, Goff said.

“There’s a real appetite here to be connected to this kind of university,” said Goff.

One example of a business is Alcon.

“Alcon has been incredible at talking and being in those meetings with me and with A&M to get them to bring aspects of the university that can benefit Alcon here,” he said.

Lockheed, Bell Helicopter, AT&T, Elbit Systems and others have been in meetings with A&M as well, he added.

The Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus is already impacting corporate relocations to the city, Goff said.

“I’m working on two right now,” he said.

One, he said, involves a technology company in the Northwest that could move here. The reason, Goff said, is that the university will be training and graduating software engineers.

“They want to move the entire company and locate right adjacent to the university,” he said. “The reason is because the university creates software engineers that they need.”

In a discussion Jan. 19 at the Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council’s 2023 Forecast event, Goff noted that Fort Worth is the largest city in the U.S. without a Tier 1 research university within its city limits. Tier 1 universities are generally defined as schools that bring in at least $100 million per year in research grants and have high-quality faculties.

“TCU is awesome and is so great for our community, but it’s not a research university, and that’s very attractive to business,” Goff said.

Local companies like Alcon, Bell, Lockheed and others are interested in working with Texas A&M, Goff said. Companies from outside the area are also interested in working with the Fort Worth campus.

Goff said it would not be just the business connections from the school that would have an impact, but the people and professionals who will be working at the campus.

“Texas A&M will bring here scientists and all kinds of people they recruit who will live and work downtown,” he said. “That’s going to bring a lot of talent here.”

A&M will be relocating the Texas Division of Emergency Management, a state agency overseen by the university, to Fort Worth.

“People from all over the world will come to downtown Fort Worth and get trained on emergency management because they’re best-in-class,” he said.

Hillwood, developers of the AllianceTexas project, said it has partnered with the Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute for its Mobility Innovation Zone at Alliance.

“If you just look across all their (Texas A&M’s) skill sets in the schools and their expertise, it’s like four corporate relocations for downtown in one,” said Hillwood President Mike Berry, also speaking at the Real Estate Forecast event. “Then you get the institutional brand on top of that,” he said. “I think it’s just incredible.”

The Texas A&M University System has a budget of $7.2 billion and a network of 11 universities, a health science center, eight state agencies, such as the Texas Division of Emergency Management and has more than 152,000 students.

Fort Worth and Tarrant County officials, along with representatives of the business community, such as Goff, joined with the Texas A&M System to bring its research and academic prowess to the city.

A three-building complex will be built on four blocks at the site of the Texas A&M School of Law at 1515 Commerce St. on the south side of downtown Fort Worth. It will provide a range of programs offered by Texas A&M University, Tarleton State University, and several A&M System agencies.

Also Jan. 19, city, business and university officials provided an update on progress on the project.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp introduced the team of architects and construction managers who have been selected to begin construction later this summer on its first building, the Law & Education Building. Architecture firm Stantec will be the primary architect, working with design architect Pelli Clarke & Partners. The school will choose a developer for the project soon, according to Goff. Goff, chairman of Crescent Real Estate, said his company is not in the running to be the project’s developer.

Locations Mentioned: Texas A&M Fort Worth, Texas A&M University School of Law