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DATCU could leave Denton

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Company conducting wider search for place to put its headquarters

Denton could lose one of its oldest corporate citizens after the Planning and Zoning Commission denied DATCU’s zoning request that would have seen its headquarters move from downtown to a spot along Teasley Lane.

DATCU has recast its net for a wider search of places to build its new corporate headquarters since the Aug. 28 vote. Some of those options are inside Denton, but others could take the headquarters to another city, according to Dale Kimble, president and CEO.

Begun in Denton in 1936 as a credit union for teachers, DATCU has 10 branches. Some branches are in cities in other counties, including Decatur and Trophy Club.

Currently, DATCU’s administrative employees, including its human resources, accounting and technology departments, are spread out over several buildings in Denton. Employees are getting the job done — the company has grown from $550 million assets in 2011 to about $700 million today — but are not able to work in the most effective manner, Kimble said.

Because of its proximity to the downtown flood plain, DATCU’s current buildings on Hickory and Mulberry streets aren’t good candidates for redevelopment, he said.

The site along Teasley Lane, currently the home of St. Mark Catholic Church, would have allowed DATCU, for the first time, to build to meet the company’s anticipated growth, Kimble said.

But the project met with stiff resistance from a small, upscale neighborhood behind the church. Many of its residents protested the change during two public hearings in August, claiming the change in traffic patterns would cause them hardship.

Kimble said the company hasn’t ruled out the location on Teasley Lane, but with the challenge from the neighborhood, the company thought it best to continue to explore options.

“The conditions the P&Z suggested for the special-use permit are pretty onerous,” Kimble said.

The commission denied the zoning change but approved a special-use permit with conditions that has yet to go before the full City Council.

Aimee Bissett, Denton’s economic development director, said she called on DATCU, as did City Manager George Campbell, after the commission’s vote to tell the company that they wanted to do what they could to keep the company in Denton.

“We’d hate to lose them,” Bissett said. “They are the poster child for a good corporate citizen.”

Last year, DATCU was ranked the seventh-best performing credit union in the nation by SNL Financial. The company received three of 17 awards the city gave to Denton businesses for their contributions to the community.

This year, Texas Monthly named DATCU as one of the state’s best companies to work for and the company’s annual shred day — where members drive up and drop off sensitive documents for disposal — benefited the United Way of Denton County.

Corinth’s economic development director, Guy Brown, confirmed Monday that he has had some informal talks with DATCU officials about relocating in Corinth.

While there are no agreements or commitments, the talks include a possible proposal to Corinth city leaders to help make the move attractive.

“I will likely recommend incentives,” Brown said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.