Texas A&M announced Wednesday it will build a top-tier research campus on land it already owns next to its law school in downtown Fort Worth.
The law school also will get a new building.
"When we first looked at it, we just went, ‘Wow, that's it,’” Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp said. “We're already in love with Fort Worth."
Sharp said it just makes sense in what is of the nation’s fastest-growing cities.
"Quite frankly what we're talking about here is developing Aggieland North,” Sharp said. “This is going to be a huge part of what Texas A&M and Texas A&M system is about and we really want to make a big, big commitment to Fort Worth."
Renderings of what the campus will look like show how it will change the face of the southeast side of downtown.
Mayor Mattie Parker said the new campus will help the city recruit new businesses and work with the ones already here.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"It's transformational for Fort Worth,” Parker said. “It's the right kind of partnership with Texas A&M."
Raanan Horowitz, CEO of Elbit Systems of America, shared enthusiasm for the project Wednesday. The aerospace defense company's headquarters is in Fort Worth and employs roughly 3,500 people nationwide. They frequently work with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense on projects, Horowitz said.
He added they want to focus on building their company in Fort Worth, but one of their biggest challenges is finding highly skilled workers to develop their workforce.
"Workforce in high tech, engineering, manufacturing in this area really needs an infusion of education especially in science, technology, math, engineering, STEM," he said. "The competition for talent is very significant. We have to draw on people from Dallas, some other places. We’d like them to be in Fort Worth. We’d like them to not have to commute. We’d like to grow this city."
He described Texas A&M's expansion as a potential "magnet" for talent.
"All of us in the high-tech business community here are putting a lot of attention in the issue of workforce development and how do we do that? A&M, I think, is going to give us a great platform for that," he said.
The city has plans to expand the area into a “Convention Center district.”
‘Aggieland North': Texas A&M to Build Research Campus in Downtown Fort Worth
City booster John Goff, a prominent developer, helped pitch the idea with former Mayor Betsy Price.
"This will be a game changer,” Goff said. “In my opinion, bringing A&M with this campus and all of what they bring to the table, to downtown Fort Worth, will be the cornerstone of Fort Worth's future."
The university could break ground as early as next summer on the first two buildings which will cost $250 million to $300 million, Sharp said.