With the recent news of XTO Energy's departure from Fort Worth, the city now finds itself with a lot of empty office space to fill.
The company is leaving behind six buildings in downtown Fort Worth. That coupled with new office building construction has pushed the city's commercial vacancy rate just north of 12 percent.
But business leaders there aren't panicking.
"It's certainly disappointing that XTO is moving on, but it does provide an opportunity for us to market additional space," Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Economic Development Brandom Gengelbach said. "There's a lot of times where we deal with companies and there's not enough contiguous space in the office portfolio that we have. This certainly helps with that discussion."
The Chamber, which is heavily involved in the city's economic development efforts, says the lack of space has been a real road block for a number of years now, particularly when it comes to recruiting large corporations or even headquarters. Now, Gengelbach says they're better equipped to target those types of businesses.
In addition to XTO, Fort Worth recently lost home builder DR Horton.
When asked if there are any concerns that Fort Worth isn't resonating with businesses, Gengelbach said he remains confident the city is headed in the right direction.
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"There's not specific reasons of why they're moving that are Fort Worth related," he said. "It's really business decisions. There's no concerns from that standpoint. That's just how the game is being played. And so our job is to be able to take the real estate that we have and be able to develop a strategy around highest and best use."
To that end, he says they're not rushing to fill the empty space with just anybody. They'd like to see a great company that is also a great community partner, like XTO was.
Still, they and other downtown officials are confident the space won't stay empty for long.
"If we do this right, I think those buildings will be acquired and occupied shortly thereafter," Downtown Fort Worth Inc. president Andy Taft said. "I don't think we're going to see any space sitting on the market for any length of time."