Special in-depth report: Victoria's future looks bright


Feb. 23, 2013 at midnight
Updated Feb. 23, 2013 at 8:24 p.m.

Flying cars and hoverboards might not be in the cards just yet, but big change is coming to the Crossroads region's future.

A report released in June by The Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic and financial analysis firm, shows higher wages, incoming industry, added tax bases and more will hit the region by the year 2020. The numbers outpace most other places nationwide.

An estimated 20,690 new jobs will soon come to the Golden Crescent region, according to the study, while retail sales will increase by about $1.30 billion.

The report cited several trends for the incoming growth, including Victoria's Caterpillar plant and suppliers that will call the region home, chemical plant expansions, Eagle Ford Shale drilling projects and resources and improvements at the Port of Victoria.

While big industry plays a large role in the incoming change, Ray Perryman, The Perryman Group's president, said new restaurants, retail stores and other supporting industries will also play their role.

In an email, he said each company maintains its own criteria when it comes to determining when and where to locate a new business. A town with a population of 95,000 but which is in the midst of rapid growth, for instance, is likely a better choice than a larger city sitting stagnant with falling income levels.

Still, he said, population and retail sales levels are among the key factors.

"The bottom line is that if you are growing, you will get more stuff," he said in the email.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said the report's results were no real surprise. The development group talks with Caterpillar regularly, he said, and evidence from Eagle Ford Shale drilling is visible.

Still, he said, an unbiased third-party look at that data helps not only know where the community stands but also can serve as a helpful marketing tool.

"If they look at that report and believe these numbers are right, they may be more likely to choose Victoria over other areas," he said of those in industries such as retail, restaurants and lodging. "It's a good time to be doing economic development in Texas and in Victoria."

Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong agreed that now is an exciting time for Victoria and attributed that success to a couple of factors. The city lucked out in its location with the Eagle Ford Shale, he said, but also saw success in planning ahead and economic development.

Going through with the Perryman study was another important element to readying for the future.

The key now, Armstrong said, is to continue bringing in new investments to maintain Victoria - such as repairing dilapidated roads - and prepare it for the future.

"I think the best is yet to come if we continue to put new investments on our tax rolls," he said.

Related stories:

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Victoria law enforcement looks toward future growth

Victoria officials say infrastructure planning critical for growth

The future of education in the Crossroads

Environment: When Victoria grows, the city is prepared

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