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Projects good news for county

Last week’s announcement that Academy Sports and Outdoors will open a 72,000-square-foot store in Denton is the latest good news for the Denton County economy, which is starting the new year in full growth mode.

Plans for additions to existing developments and new projects ranging from shopping centers to residential communities continue to be announced.

The projects will boost the tax base, add jobs and create new opportunities for area residents. Developers continue to target not only Denton but several other key growth areas including southern Denton County and the U.S. Highway 380 corridor.

Academy is the latest retailer to sign on with Rayzor Ranch Marketplace and will start the third phase of development at the Marketplace. With this and other anticipated additions this year, including Boot Barn and Ross Dress for Less, officials are expecting to see higher levels of traffic at the development.

Other Denton development hotspots include Unicorn Lake, which opened in 2010 and is about to see a surge in growth. In a joint project by Links Construction and The Martino Group, a new high-end apartment complex called Urban Square will bring 205 units to the area. The first phase of 121 apartments will be completed this summer, and officials expect new restaurants to open in Unicorn Lake soon.

Links Construction and The Martino Group are also behind another Denton real estate venture, the H Squared apartments at 321 W. Hickory St. The complex will target young professionals.

Elsewhere in Denton, Verus Real Estate Advisors will create a restaurant and retail complex at 5000 Teasley Lane, just north of Guyer High School. The site is 51,000 square feet, and will open this summer, officials said.

On the southwest corner of Loop 288 and Sherman Drive, Randall D. Smith Real Estate is planning to begin construction on an 85-acre, mixed-use project, and a permit has been issued to Achieve Real Estate for the Gardens of Denton at Loop 288 and Locust Street. The development will have 17 acres of retail space and a 192-unit apartment complex.

A new senior living center is planned near the Denton Regional Medical Center and is expected to open by April 2015. SRP Medical will construct an 84,000-square-foot community with 75 assisted-living residences and 32 apartments.

Developer Hillwood Communities is building a $600 million residential community northwest of Frisco. The almost 800-acre Union Park project will have about 2,400 new houses, and is located on U.S. Highway 380 in Little Elm. Construction is scheduled to start this spring.

Dallas-area housing analyst Ted Wilson with Residential Strategies said the U.S. 380 corridor in Collin and Denton counties is one of North Texas’ strongest new home markets.

To the south, the Argyle Town Council recently cleared the way for development of a new Brookshire’s grocery store, and officials announced that North Central Texas College will expand its territory in Corinth by adding nine suites in Pinnell Square totaling 16,713 square feet.

These and other projects are positive signs that Denton County’s dynamic growth is continuing to draw the attention of developers.

We believe the construction surge is also a solid indicator that the economy is gaining strength.

Academy, for example, had been interested in adding a Denton location for a few years but was waiting for the economy to pick back up, and to find the right location, said Aimee Bissett, director of economic development for the city of Denton.

We’re pleased that Academy was able to find what it needed here in Denton, and we’re confident that many more companies will soon be arriving to get in on the action.