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Businesses Eye North Texas As Developers Enjoy Building Boom

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The announcement that Toyota will be relocating its headquarters in Plano is big news, but developers and analysts say the news just adds to a bigger picture.

Big-time builders like Lucy Billingsley says the Dallas area is in the midst of a building boom and it means tens of thousand of jobs are here and more are coming down the pike.

Billingsley gets excited when she talks about Dallas. Especially now that she's juggling nearly a dozen big construction projects in that city, Farmers Branch, The Colony, Irving and Plano.

"What's happening in Dallas is self-evident. This is a state that's a 'can do' state," she said bright-eyed. "There is an energy, excitement for tomorrow. How are we going to grow and what companies are going to grow here? That's infectious!"

One of Billingsley's biggest construction projects right now is Cypress Waters near the LBJ Freeway and Beltline Road.

"At the town center here at Cypress Waters we will have offices, residential and the hike-and-bike trail coming through."

Over time Lucy and Henry Billingsley purchased 1,000 acres of land near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The property was once home to a TXU Power plant.

Now the land is being turned into a residential and business community that will be home to the new headquarters for Nationstar Mortgage.

Billingsley is carrying the baton passed to her by her father, the late Trammel Crow, who was a major real estate developer in the 1970's and 80's.

Now in 2014 she says, "… everything is exploding. In every category we are 95- to 100-percent full."

Experts say occupancy rates are high and the demand is big right now – not just in a few sectors but across the board: office space, industrial, multi-family, single family dwellings, and retail.

And then there is also road construction everywhere. Mike Davis, an economist with SMU'd Cox School of Business, explained, "There's really strong fundamentals at work here. The fact that businesses want to relocate to the North Texas area, that's not a bubble. That's a real phenomenon."

According to Davis, low interest rates, job growth and corporate expansion in North Texas are the reasons for the construction boom.

Those in the industry say this wasn't the situation between 2007 and early 2013. But last spring building cranes started popping up.

The question now is when will it slow down? Billingsley says most of her projects are developed for companies that need the space now. "We cannot overbuild again," she urged. "So the bankers and the real estate developers all have to have discipline to insure that we don't overbuild."

Of course, Lucy Billingsley believes the boom will undoubtedly slow down, but just when is anyone's guess. She says her company is watching interest rates and job growth.

For the time being, local businesspeople aren't complaining. Because right companies from all over the globe continue to take an interest in North Texas.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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