The Colony goes all in on big retail development:
THE COLONY — In a sparse field off State Highway
121, work is beginning on what will soon be the
largest furniture store in North America.
But the Nebraska Furniture Mart is notable for more
than its size. In luring the chain to town, The
Colony has promised one of the most generous
economic development packages ever offered in North
Texas and beyond. Documents show that the city of
about 40,000 plans to spend up to $802 million to
help build the store and its surrounding
That commitment amounts to more than 15 times the
city’s annual budget.
“That is exceptionally big,” said Greg LeRoy,
executive director of Good Jobs First, a
Washington-based nonprofit that studies and is often
critical of economic development deals. “I think it
might be a world record.”
City leaders say the development will create jobs
and generate much-needed sales tax revenue — more
than $600 million over the next 40 years, documents
indicate. And, given that the chain is owned by
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, there is little
concern about the risk.
But in a time when economic development is becoming
more and more competitive among cities, the massive
price tag raises questions about whether it is the
best use of tax dollars.
“It is a very big undertaking, and we understand
that, but with the opportunity that it presented to
our community, the return was more than acceptable,”
said Tod Maurina, assistant city manager for The