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Caterpillar will take up entire industrial park

By JR Ortega
Aug. 12, 2010 at 3:12 a.m.

A half-lit sign graces the entrance into the well-lit portion of Lone Tree Road at the Lone Tree Business Center. The 320-acre space was developed in 2001 to entice businesses looking to expand their operations or move into the Victoria area.

After almost 10 years of sitting empty on the corner of Lone Tree Road and Loop 463, the Lone Tree Business Center will no longer be vacant.

The Victoria Economic Development Corp. was once criticized for the 320-acre park being almost empty, but now Caterpillar Inc. will take over the entire park to build a 600,000-square-foot plant.

The move is expected to bring in suppliers nearby.

"I wouldn't have made the deal if I thought it was a bad one," said Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp.

The investment in the business center and Caterpillar was about $5.5 million, he said.

Now, ideas for another business park have been tossed around but not fully discussed, Fowler said.

The Port of Victoria and land near the airport are areas being looked at, he said.

So far, Fowler has heard nothing but good comments about the manufacturing plant coming to Victoria.

The critics have yet to come out.

"I haven't had them yet," Fowler said, laughing, "but I'm sure I will."

Jack Mullins, with Citizens for Responsible Government, said Thursday he had not heard about the plant coming to Victoria, but was happy and surprised to learn about the news.

Not knowing all the specifics, Mullins said he was waiting to learn more about the plant.

"I don't have any particular feeling about that," he said.

Mullins' only worry was if Caterpillar gets a tax break, he is afraid it will affect all the residents.

If the plant applies for and receives a tax break, he said it will be taking from the taxpayers, and he would have a problem with that.

Still, Fowler thinks the arrival of a Fortune 100 company in Victoria will be nothing but good for the community.

"At the end of the day we want the community to feel good about the investment," he said.

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