emember BRAC? People living in 136 communities across the nation who sure do.
The Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure process has gone through five rounds since 1988. One of the places affected in the 1990s was Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas.
Closed 25 years ago and handed over to the Lubbock Reese Redevelopment Authority, that site today is reborn as Reese Technology Center, with a mission centered around technology, research, engineering, education and manufacturing, and facilities that offer private airfield access, abundant meeting space and a state-of-the-art data center. Those assets combine with Lubbock’s low costs and business-friendly environment make Reese a focal point of recent domestic and foreign corporate investment.
The ability to fabricate structural components in-house on ample laydown space was important to Rhodes USA’s decision to locate at Reese Technology Center.
Photo courtesy of Rhodes USA
Rhodes USA, partner of Australia-based global construction services company Rhodes Group, moved into its location at Reese in March 2021 to offer services that include design, manufacturing, supply and construction capabilities as well as in-house civil, structural, and architectural engineering. Among the attractants for the company’s first expansion into North America? The ability to fabricate structural components on ample laydown space a stone’s throw from one of the former base’s 10,500-ft. runways. Reese doesn’t need to fly, but the room to maneuver is helping its business take flight as it contracts to provide framing and construction services for housing developments throughout the region.
Royal Bengal Logistics, based in Coral Springs, Florida, chose to expand to Reese because of its central location and relaxed regulatory environment, says Lacy Elliott, administrative coordinator for Reese Technology Center. “Since opening up their facility at Reese, RBL has increased their efficiency and experienced great success in lowering costs for truck maintenance,” she says.
Building in extra levels of resilience and redundancy is par for the course at military installations. Reese is no different. It has two 10,500-ft. runways and one 6,500-ft. runway, all for the exclusive use of Reese customers and partners. In addition, Reese manages the water distribution system and has a water tower, underground storage tank and treatment facility for the water provided by the City of Lubbock. Reese Data Center, meanwhile, provides colocation and failover solutions for West Texas and beyond.
A political subdivision of the State of Texas, Reese is exempt from taxes. It has no taxing authority and receives no public funds, deriving all of its revenue from the leasing of assets.
“Managing and leasing the property given to us by the Air Force has been challenging,” Elliott says. “Besides the 27,500 linear feet of runways, we must also maintain a water distribution system, a dual-loop fiber ring, 37 miles of roads, over 2,000 acres of land and a state-of-the-art data center. Despite these challenges, Reese has grown to become one of the most successful redevelopment stories in the country. The buildings are currently 70% leased.”
A partial list of other companies with operations there includes Jesse’s Equipment Sales (which moved from Hobbs, New Mexico), KBR Aerospace Division, SES Civil and Environmental, AECOM, Oxy USA, WillScot office trailers and buildings, and Bayer Research and Development Division.
Meanwhile, says Elliott, “Sandia National Labs, GE and Group NIRE have been instrumental in positioning Reese as a world-class test facility. Workforce development collaborations with South Plains College have garnered a huge benefit for the region by preparing the workforce for high-skilled or technical jobs that are in demand. “
Located outside the city limits of Lubbock, Reese is able to offer privacy and security, modified gross lease rates, flexible and negotiable lease terms, scalable properties with plenty of room for growth, expansive laydown space, and pad sites available on the flight line.
“We have a unique set of assets and amenities,” Elliott says, “that can’t be found anywhere else in the state.” But the best may be the lifestyle of the Lubbock region as a whole.
“The average commute is 15 minutes or less,” she says. “The people are unusually friendly. There is no better place to live than Lubbock in West Texas.”
Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.