Shopping, Hotels Could Touch Down Near DFW Airport

Dallas city leaders Wednesday got their first look at plans for massive development around Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The airport is the size of Manhattan island with more than 18,000 acres, 12,000 of which is set aside for aviation.

The remaining 6,000 acres was set aside a noise buffer.

But now that communities have grown up around the airport, officials believe the land could be developed for uses in which airport noise would not generate complaints.

Plans include hotels and cargo facilities that would serve the airport, as well as shopping and entertainment attractions that could cater to local residents and travelers.

"I know everyone considers DFW Airport as the economic engine for North Texas," said John Terrell, airport vice president. "We believe we can put that engine on steroids."

The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth jointly own the airport, and they stand to reap huge tax rewards for development on airport property.

Airport officials estimate Dallas could receive an extra $64 million and Fort Worth an extra $40 million by 2038.

"We will look forward to wrestling through the nuances and the import of this plan," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who will also serve on the DFW Airport board.

The airport land would be leased to developers, and the airport would provide police and fire protection.

Projects on the airport land would be subject to sales and business property taxes that would be divided between the airport owners and host cities of Irving, Euless, Grapevine and Coppell.

Agreements are in place with Irving and Euless. Grapevine and Coppell are still negotiating.

Travelers refueling rental cars at DFW on Wednesday had mixed feelings about the development plans.

Arturo Solis, who was visiting from the San Francisco area, said he travels through the airport quickly when he visits.

"It doesn't interest me very much," he said. "There is already a lot of things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth."

Ken Mayer, a consultant from Kansas City who frequently travels to DFW, said he often stays in hotels near the airport, but road construction and traffic keep him from going very far away.

"It's a pain to go, so I end up staying right around the hotel and making compromises on what to eat, where to eat, [and I] don't do any shopping," he said.

"It would be really nice to be able to eat, shop and do things in the evening, right around here," he said.

Signs are posted already promoting a mixed-use hotel project called Southgate Plaza near the DFW Airport Rental Car Center.

A DART rail station is under construction on airport property near Valley View Lane and Belt Line Road in Irving.

Airport officials hope to see transit-oriented development of businesses and homes at the station on the DART Orange Line, which will eventually run directly to DFW terminals A and B.

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