With the number of personal and business bankruptcies double what it was a year ago, and with construction costs, interest rates, and inflation running high, many corporations are playing it safe and postponing their Dallas relocations and expansions. Just as consumers are maintaining their old automobiles instead of buying new ones, corporations all over the country are making do with the facilities they have.
This trend won’t continue, say Dallas Chamber of Commerce spokesmen who maintain that more companies are considering relocation in Dallas than ever before. The number of businesses filing with the Chamber of Commerce for information about the city is up 50 per cent. 1980 was not a bad year, the spokesmen say, it was just a time when more companies contemplated a Dallas move, and fewer companies consummated one. Interest in Dallas relocations is up most significantly in the electronics industry, from which came 20 per cent of all files.
While an estimated 51 new companies (down from 58 in 1979) moved to the Dallas six-county area in 1980, employing 3972 people and absorbing record amounts of office and warehouse space, flashy corporate moves of the American Airlines or Diamond Shamrock ilk have been few and far between. This year’s most impressive corporate acquisition was Caltex Petroleum Corporation, from New York. But smaller companies make a cumulative difference on paper, and while they do not receive as much attention from the press, their impact upon the Dallas economy is a salubrious one.
The latest profit-making corporations to relocate their national headquarters in Dallas are:
Marazzi U. S. A., Inc., a subsidiary of Marazzi Ceramiche of Sassuolo, Italy. A 125, 000-square-foot plant (their first in the U. S. ) is being built on a 92-acre site near Lake Ray Hubbard where they will employ approximately 120 people.
MEPC American Properties, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MEPC Limited in London, the second largest property acquisition and management firm in the United Kingdom. MEPC is building its holdings near Dallas, Houston, and Denver and has absorbed 6000 square feet of office space where they employ 13 people. The old headquarters in Minneapolis is now a regional office.
DLM, Inc., a publishing company dealing in supplemental learning materials and other products for individuals and schools, is building a 40, 000 square-foot office and 105, 000-square-foot shipping and storing facility in Allen, 20 miles north of Dallas. They employ over 200 people.
Caltex Petroleum Corporation, a multinational concern jointly owned by Texaco and Standard Oil Co. of California, has opened an interim office to choreograph their enormous headquarter move out of Manhattan, which will involve some 625 employees. Once Caltex moves to Dallas, it will be the largest corporation, based on revenues, in the state. 1979 revenues were 14. 6 billion.
Companies like these give a wide range of reasons for their corporate moves, but behind all the verbage is one survival drive: productivity. Dallas provides workers with a longer productive work week, a more hospitable tax system, and a pleasant climate in which to conduct business. Corporate leaders who know how tough it will be to prosper in the Eighties appreciate all that.