Alvarado will soon be home to new companies, hotels, restaurants and retail shopping centers because of its prime location at the intersection of Interstate 35W and U.S. 67, local sources said.

With the relocation of Sabre Tubular Structures, a steel-pole manufacturer, from Fort Worth to Alvarado, more than 300 employees will bring an increase in business to the area. Some employees will transfer from the company’s former location, and others will be hired in the fall, said Dean Barkman, vice president and general manager.

The city expects an increase in retail sales over the next few years because of the business brought in by Sabre employees and businesses that will supply the company, City Manager Mary Daly said.

The new manufacturing facility will be located on 147 acres two miles east of I-35W on U.S. 67. The facility will consist of a 193,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art steel fabrication plant and a 15,000-square-foot office building.

The building is anticipated be complete late this fall.

La Quinta Inn, which will be located next to Days Inn off I-35W and U.S. 67, is also under construction. A Super 8 Motel on I-35W was recently completed, and a Best Western might be built behind McDonald’s, said Leanna Cowan, Alvarado Chamber of Commerce secretary.

Alvarado is going to extend Sunflower Street across U.S. 67 and build more commercial property, Daly said. A residential subdivision will be built off Sunflower and facing Davis Street, she said.

“People are very interested in the property on 67,” Cowan said. “I own a little piece of land on 67, and I’m constantly getting calls.”

A retail outlet, two national chain restaurants and a strip shopping center will also be built on a plat of land on the triangle between McDonald’s and Chevron, Daly said. The city does not know which restaurants will be built, she said.

“Just like all of Johnson County, Alvarado is going to grow because of its location off of I-35W and U.S. 67,” Alvarado Mayor Tom Durington said.

In 2005, the city’s population — 3,919 — was projected to quadruple, Cowan said. The population will likely reach a maximum of 12,000 to 15,000 people because of the city’s boundaries, she said.

“Some residents are happy about the city’s growth and some want it to stay small,” she said.

Resident Paula Hardee, a real estate agent, said she remembers the city when the gas station on the corner let people have charge accounts.

“Now there’s a gas station or hotel on nearly every corner,” she said. “I think it’s a good thing for our community as long as we keep that hometown feeling, provide a great quality of life for our citizens, and be a city of character.”

To prepare for the growth, the Alvarado City Council has determined that $34 million in capital improvements is necessary, Daly said. Urgent needs will cost $2.1 million, she said.

The improvements will be made to water production and distribution systems, wastewater collection and treatment systems, street rehabilitation and new city facilities. The city has plans to build a new wastewater treatment plant that will last 25 years and is expandable, Daly said.

“Because of the growth, we have to think into the future,” she said.

Durington agreed.

“We are preparing and trying to get ready for the growth,” he said. “We want smart growth.”

Misty Shultz can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2336,


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