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CARROLLTON, TX-The 2,200-acre Valwood Park has recorded its largest valuation increase, $129 million, in its 28-year evolution from farmland into a leading industrial corridor. The park contains 20 million sf of industrial space and 3.4 million sf of office product.

Pat Canuteson, executive director for the Valwood Improvement Authority, says the $1.9-billion plus assessed value is a final count, coming after all tax appeals have been adjudicated. It also comes at a time when its cities of Carrollton and Farmers Branch are again toying with allowing Freeport exemptions as is the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Canuteson tells GlobeSt.com. Of course, that’s been discussed before and then dropped, he adds.

Despite the numerous freeway accesses, the park continues to face stiff competition from areas with Triple Freeport allowances. Of the five taxing entities with a stake in the park, only Valwood’s authority and Dallas County offer the inventory tax break as an incentive for setting up shop in a Valwood building.

Today’s park occupancy is 85% to 88% in comparison to a historical 92% to 95%. Still, the sagging occupancy hasn’t stalled growth. Canuteson blames the losses squarely on its Triple Freeport neighbors.

Canuteson stresses the park’s increased values are not due to rising tax rates, but rather rising personal business property from existing companies that are growing through inventory and new equipment. New construction isn’t keeping par with the park’s historical one million sf per year, but in today’s world the increased inventory is working out to be a fair trade-off for growth. This year, personal business property totals more than $985.7 million. It was $868.9 million in 2001. Meanwhile, Valwood’s current taxing rate is 0.2695 per $100 of assessed value in comparison to 0.3375 in 1995, a watermark year because rates have decreased each year since then.

“This is easily the largest growth in the history of Valwood Park,” Canuteson said in a press release. “It is rather unusual especially given economic times.”

The park was started with $36 million in bond financing, which went to $95 million through the years. Today, it owes just $13 million and the tab will be paid in full in 2013, Canuteson confides.

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