Economic Development Director
Colleyville's Economic Development Department is responsible for working with existing city property owners as well as working with developers to increase office and retail sectors of the city.
This involves seeking out unique and interesting venues in which Colleyville residents can shop, dine and explore. Good economic development results in higher sales tax revenue, new retailers, new businesses, more job opportunities and retainment of existing businesses.
Marty Wieder, economic development director for Colleyville, is the face of economic development for the city. Since he was hired in 2009, Wieder has been instrumental the opening of Whole Foods Market, Petco, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Bahama Bucks. Wieder will also oversee as construction of a new shopping center across from the Colleyville Downs Shopping center. Additionally, Zoe's Kitchen, a Mediterranean restaurant, and Black Walnut Cafe, a Woodlands-based contemporary American fast casual restaurant, will be opening in 2015.
Community Impact Newspaper sat down in November with Wieder to discuss his role in economic development.
As economic development director of Colleyville what does your position entail? Do you focus primarily on drawing in prospective developers?
Presentation of the community to prospective developers is certainly one role we play, but my duty first begins with focusing on existing businesses and removing obstacles that may be in their way and help them to grow or expand. We [in the economic development department] like to roll up our sleeves and be out on the frontlines and feel the pulse of the local community. We can't always be there, but we can certainly listen to those who are there. It's very valuable to begin with business retention and expansion. We also serve as a facilitator, linking them to what or who they need to be in contact with and by fostering a new relationship between a business and a financial investor or contractor. We serve as a new set of eyes, pointing out opportunities and possibilities that maybe don't always come to mind at first glance.
How do you decide what projects to pursue for economic development?
Let's take Whole Foods for an example. We did the merchandising plan in fall 2009 and the company we were working with delivered a trade area map in March 2010, identifying where the shoppers were coming from and what businesses were in that radius. They also gave us a list of retailers that weren't in the trade area map but would be a good fit for us, and we were able to use that as a basis. Whole Foods was on that list, and we thought it would be a good fit and that it would be a game changer and begin to catch other retailers' attention and view us differently. We want people to say, 'I haven't been to Colleyville lately, I better drive over there and see what it is going on.' So, essentially we look for what a site might yield and [also at] the desires of our citizens.
How do you market Colleyville to outsiders?
As recent and great example of how we market to companies from out of state is Greenbrier Companies, a group out of Oregon that is involved in marine and rail freight equipment. A lot of their work was taking place in Mexico and they were flying engineers through the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and they came to the decision that they needed to look closer at the quality of life of those engineers and create a division in North Texas. So we gave them 10 reasons why they should relocate to Colleyville. Some of those included the fact that we were named one of the safest cities in the United States, we have an excellent school district, we got a couple of good private Christian schools and a tremendous housing stock. We made the appeal that we want those professionals to feel good and to know that the families that they are leaving behind will be safe, and that they're are plenty of nice housing options and new houses being built, growing restaurants and retailers for them to be able to enjoy. We can't take that for granted.
What development projects are you particularly proud of that you took part in?
Backfilling three vacant commercial establishments was a huge accomplishment. We turned the former Kroger, close to City Hall, into a Wal-Mart Neighborhood a little over two years ago. When Borders, the book and music store, shut down nationally we were able to turn it into Jump Street, the indoor trampoline park. The former Albertsons in Colleyville is now Whole Food and Petco. We needed to backfill those three vacancies in order to build new projects from the ground up. We are now in the process of having a new multitenant building built by Centennial Real Estate from the ground up. It's our first one since 2008. It was important but I surely don't want to discount all of the medical progress we have made, such as bringing our first hospital to the area—Baylor Medical Center. We also have seen employment growth and were able to increase our daytime population. We've really been blessed.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding [aspect] is to be able to deliver results and help Colleyville and its businesses achieve some things that others thought weren't possible. Also, getting Whole Foods to come to Colleyville because that was two-year nine-month courtship/journey leading up to the announcement that they were coming. In the past we've had to change people's perspective and that takes a long time. I think now Colleyville is now more understanding, enthusiastic and willing when it comes to business attraction and business development. While this is rewarding for me, I also want to mention none of this would be possible without our City Council, who in 2009, made it a long-term commitment to economic development ...I think we have since been able to prove those weren't just words.