Arlington is a city with enviable assets. It lies at the center of two major urban areas—Dallas and Fort Worth—providing access to excellent transportation infrastructure, a rising research university, and world-class tourist attractions. However, the community faces challenges associated with an aging building stock, limited greenfield sites, and competition from surrounding Metroplex suburbs with ample land and aggressive incentives. Although Arlington is, in effect, the region’s “Third City,” truly inhabiting this role will require not only a more forward-looking economic perspective, but a broader change in image and perception.
To help raise the bar for economic development, the City hired TIP Strategies to closely examine its existing programs, analyze Arlington’s competitive position, and conduct a review of specific areas targeted for redevelopment. The plan identified three goals: 1) elevate Arlington’s competitive positioning to capture a larger share of the region’s high-wage, high-impact growth; 2) transform key economic centers into vibrant destinations; and 3) create amenities and assets that will secure the city’s position as a major regional activity hub. The plan outlined specific strategies and tools to support these goals, provided detailed profiles of the targeted redevelopment areas, and recommended industries to target for business attraction. Since finalizing the plan in 2014, the City increased its budget for economic development by almost 50 percent and hired additional staff to support these initiatives.