Economic analysis shows proposed development project could generate $1.4B for City of Tyler, county

Economic analysis shows proposed development project could generate $1.4B for City of Tyler, county

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As plans for a $1.4 billion housing project have ground to a halt due to zoning concerns, a new economic impact analysis is detailing the billion-dollar impact the project could have on the city.

The analysis, conducted by the Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research at UT Tyler, was obtained Thursday by KLTV. It outlines the economic impact of the proposed Bellwood Forest Development.

The development was originally proposed by Chinese developer Xing Tan and would provide homes for 3,000 to 5,000 international students – mostly in high school – and their parents or guardians. The developer will foot the bill to construct the multi-family buildings if approved.

Originally Tan wanted to build this development in a larger city but when he visited Tyler he was attracted to the private schools as well as the close proximity to the airport and major highways that could easily allow those living in the community to get around.

Dr. Rod Mabry, Executive Director of the Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research, says that the students will be high school age in order to be more fluent in English by the time they reach college age and begin attending college classes in Tyler.

The analysis notes that a new school would be built on the campus, also funded  by the developer, to provide education for the students, although "students with the strongest language skills would be taught (tuition paid by the developer) by some area private schools."

Mabry added that the families would pay for the housing before they arrive.

Increasing population

Bellwood development would be set in Southwest Tyler - at the intersection of Loop 323 and Earl Campbell Parkway - and contain nearly 3,000 units in one- to six-story buildings. The project would take more than seven years to complete, starting this year and wrapping up in 2024.

The city stands to gain upwards of $1.4 billion over a seven-year and the project could generate an average of 1,515 jobs.

"Combining the two main parts of our analysis—capital outlay impacts and residents' spending impacts—the Hibbs Institute concludes that the Bellwood Forest Development project's total impact on Smith County would exceed $1.4 billion during the seven years of Phase I. The total increase in labor income for Smith County would be $495.1 million and an average of 1,515 jobs would be generated or supported during the seven-year construction period."

Of course, the city would also see an influx of residents – by the thousands.

But not all at once.

The economic impact analysis says families would flow into the complex in groups of 500 to 800 per year from 2020 to 2024.

Each new household is estimated to spend about $50,000 annually.

Economic impact

Adding households to the area from outside of the region will have a different effect than other development projects that might allow residents to move across town, the study alleges.

"These new Bellwood Forest residents come with income earned outside the region and with several immediate needs, from new furniture and transportation to food and entertainment, including new clothes, if they wish to fit in," the analysis states.

Economic impact results were broken down into three different categories – direct, indirect, induced effects. All of those were examined as they relate to business volume, labor income and employment.

Of course, the city will have to provide basic infrastructure - like water lines, power lines and sewage lines. Some of which is already in place.

"Summing the total annual increased business volume, or total economic output, across the seven-year construction period yields a grand total increase in business volume of $907.3 million during that period. Also, $314.6 million of that increase in business volume for the period would be increased labor income (including proprietors' income)," the analysis states.

A "typical" resident at the development might spend $12,000 on appliances, furnishing and repairs/alterations during the first year.

The Hibbs Institute estimates that five years of spending by residents during the project period could yield more than $503.4 million of added business volume for the county.

The Hibbs Institute used an average to calculate job growth in the city over the seven-year period.

Some 941 jobs would be supported annually, with the maximum jobs peaking in 2020 at 1,772. Those jobs would later decline to 173 in the last year of the project.

Zoning issues

The latest hurdle for the project is related to zoning concerns, says Dr. Rod Mabry with UT-Tyler's Hibb's Institute. The property is already zoned as commercial/residential.

The developer is asking for a taller building height for the proposed 10 to 15 buildings to be constructed than the city allows.

The committee meets the first Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. They next meet on May 1.

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