By Heather M. Goodwin | firstname.lastname@example.org | Lewisville Leader
The Colony has already seen an economic benefit to bringing the Nebraska Furniture Mart to the city, but that is just the beginning of what it and the entire Grandscape development has to offer.
“We’ve already seen a huge benefit of the development, including the addition of Top Golf, to The Colony,” said Tod Maurina, assistant city manager. “We’ve already seen an economic impact from having the construction people in town. We don’t have numbers to quantify that now, but we know it’s there.”
Keri Samford, economic development director, said to her knowledge every piece of vacant property along State Highway 121 is either under contract or being developed, including Specks, Rooms to Go and Peter Piper Pizza.
“We also have office condos coming in, and developers are rebuilding the Marriott hotel,” Samford said.
Maurina said he believes that is a direct result of the investment the city made to bring Grandscape to fruition.
Once Nebraska Furniture Mart opens, March 4, 2015, it will have about 2,200 employees. It has already hired more than 400 people.
“They are actively hiring and have held a couple job fairs,” Maurina said. “The big push will be this fall. They’ve brought in a certain amount of people from other locations to help teach the culture, but they have also hired a high number of local people in prominent positions in the organization.”
Maurina said initially the city estimated that the mart would bring 1,900 new jobs to the area and the Grandscape as a whole, about 5,000 new jobs. He said the city’s goal is to hire at least 50 percent of people from The Colony and Denton County.
“Our goal is to keep it as local as possible, and I think that’s good for them [the businesses] too,” Maurina said. “Businesses don’t like people commuting 45 minutes to work. There’s a certain area they want their employees to be in to make sure they’re reliable.”
Maurina said the mart is good at maintaining its employees. He said they have more than a 94-percent retention rate over five years.
“It’s very common to meet employees of the mart that have been there more than 10 years,” Maurina said. “At this location, a couple who works as the project manager and distribution manager have both been with the mart more than 20 years. They’re very conscience of keeping people, and they’re going to be a great employer.”
The mart will employ both part time and full time positions. Maurina said the jobs will span from warehouse distribution, which itself will have more than 800 people, to entry level cashiers, to craftsman who will make repairs to the furniture, to high-end sales positions.
In addition to bringing in new jobs, Maurina said the city is projecting that the mart will generate $50 million dollars a year in sales tax.
“This is bigger than The Colony. I don’t think it’s an accident that some headquarters have been coming into area cities such as Plano. There’s been development all along the 121 corridor, including Lewisville and Frisco,” Maurina said.
Maurina said area cities are seeing development where there was none before. He said that’s what The Colony always envisioned, that Grandscape was a regional wide opportunity.
“We’re glad to see our neighbors benefit as well as we are because it helps create traffic and make Grandscape be successful,” Maurina said.