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Toys R Us, a Paramus, NJ-based retailer, is forging ahead on plans to build an 836,000-sf distribution center in a strategically positioned outlying industrial development that is gift wrapping wide open spaces with lucrative tax abatements.

Toys R Us has closed on 93 acres at the 1,700-acre TXI Railport in Midlothian, situated 24 miles south of Dallas and 27 miles southeast of Ft. Worth. In line with the purchase, local and county governments are providing 100% tax abatements for the first two years and 25% for the third to ninth years of operation. Double Freeport tax exemptions also are in place, with Ellis County expected to approve a third tier by 2001. A TXI Railport official says the latest pact represents an affirmation of community support via tax packages providing long-term distribution venues.

Toys R Us will be the first distribution center constructed in the massive Railport and one of 10 nationwide being built by the leading toy store retailer. Toy distribution sites in Carrollton, TX, north of Dallas, and Houston will be consolidated when the structure is completed, confirms Al Boschen, Toys R Us director of asset management.

Toys R Us is the second company to be lured by Railport’s wide open spaces, which comes in 50- to 200-acre parcels primarily ticketed for industrial developments. American National Power has about $750 million invested in its 90-acre site.

Railport’s expanses of land are located along Texas 67, strategically linked by easy accesses to four major highways leading to Dallas-Ft. Worth, surrounding states and Mexico, including Interstate 35, the primary route for south-to-north trucking in the southwest. Railport’s infrastructure also boasts dual rail service and dual gas and electric services. Its positioning and infrastructure cater to light-to-heavy manufacturing, assembly plant and service-oriented businesses, delivering a competitive advantage through lower overall operating costs, says Karen Simon, president of the industrial and land division of Woodmont Realty Associates Inc. She and another Woodmont broker has represented Toys R Us and TXI Railport in the transaction.

TXI Railport is being developed by TXI Real Estate, a division of TXI boasting sales in excess of $1 billion annually and more than $1 billion in assets. Toys R Us operates 1,552 stores worldwide, 707 of which are in the US. The total includes franchises, 207 Kids R Us clothing stores, 137 Babies R Us retail sites and 38 Imaginarium operations.

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