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DALLAS-The 6,000-acre Dallas Logistics Hub has gotten an early Christmas present: a signed purchase option from BNSF Railway Co. The option, if exercised, would create the only intermodal stronghold with two leading rail competitors in the US and possibly the world.

“It certainly would be the first logistics park in the world that has two intermodal yards with the two biggest freight carriers in the US,” says Jon Cross, marketing director for the San Diego-based Allen Group. He tells GlobeSt.com that the Fort Worth-based subsidiary of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. has optioned a minimum 387 acres and a maximum 530 acres. There is an 18-month window for due diligence and exercising the option.

The BNSF negotiations with the Allen Group for the South Dallas land has raised concerns in Fort Worth circles about the competition with Ross Perot Jr.’s AllianceTexas, a 17,000-acre industrial muscle with a cargo airport, miles of NAFTA Highway and a BNSF intermodal supplying the rail transport. However, it’s been no secret that BNSF was in talks with the Allen Group for a positioning in the Dallas Logistics Hub, the driving force for an inland port designation.

The BNSF contract comes within weeks of its executive team picking the Allen Group to build a 1,000-acre intermodal-logistics park in Gardner, KS. The companies’ history includes a 700-acre International Trade & Transport Center in Shafter, CA.

Developer Richard Allen picked up an additional 387 acres in the summer from Southport. Luke Allen, corporate development coordinator, says “one or two” additional smaller tracts are under contract to round out the footprint, which has triggered nearly two years of speculation in land buying and industrial development in South Dallas. The push has driven the City of Lancaster to discuss extending its runways at the executive airport so it too can handle air cargo.

The BNSF yard has “been on our radar screen for years,” Allen says. “Going into it, it was a possible opportunity that we always saw.”

The BNSF option runs on the western side of the Dallas Logistics Hub, with 8,000 linear feet of track planned for the City of Dallas and 2.5 miles of uninterrupted line inside the park’s bounds. Union Pacific Railroad has cordoned off the eastern boundary. The park, with five major freeway connectors at its doorstep, has been mapped for 60 million sf of vertical development.

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