In early 2013, bulk solvent and chemical products distributor Buckley Oil Company began searching for a new home. One of America’s oldest petrochemical companies, Buckley Oil wanted to relocate its then-Dallas-based headquarters and distribution operations to accommodate the company’s path of growth and modernization plans.
After considering multiple sites in North Texas, Buckley Oil found what it needed just 26 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth on a 12-acre site in Midlothian, Texas’ dual rail-served RailPort Business Park.
While Midlothian met the company’s stringent location criteria, the city’s willingness to work with Buckley Oil was another compelling factor in the site selection process.
By assisting the company in meeting the necessary regulatory and permitting requirements – including obtaining special use permits – the City of Midlothian ensured that Buckley Oil’s project moved forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In December 2013, Buckley Oil broke ground on its Midlothian facility just 10 months after starting its site selection process.
Since that time, the company has operated a 420,000-gallon bulk storage facility, a 17,000-square-foot warehouse, a 3,000-square-foot packaging space and a 5,000-square-foot headquarters office building in Midlothian. There are currently 24 employees at the Midlothian plant.
In November 2016, we talked with Mark Riggs, Buckley Oil’s vice president – operations, for some insider insights on this lucrative North Texas project.
Midlothian Economic Development: How important is the permitting process to a site selection project, especially within the context of other site advantages?
Mark Riggs: The permitting process was critical in Buckley’s decision to build in Midlothian. Our use required a special use permit and without it we would not have built a plant here. The city’s planning department worked with us from the beginning to develop a workable plan for building this plant.
MED: How would you characterize your overall experience with the regulatory and permitting process in Midlothian?
MR: Our experience was very positive. Midlothian’s planning department and MED wanted us to build and put us through the necessary regulatory and permitting hoops, but always with an eye toward getting our plant built in Midlothian.
MED: How did local officials help to smooth and simplify the process for your project?
MR: MED built a road from RailPort Parkway to our plant. The city brought utilities to our plant along the roadway. The city council granted our special use permit and welcomed us to town.
MED: How helpful is it to have had the opportunity to meet with necessary city leaders at one time? Were you able to get all or most of your questions answered at that time?
MR: It was amazing and unprecedented in our experience. We basically covered most of questions within three to four meetings. We have had three to four meetings with the City of Dallas to determine when we were going to meet. And then we got nowhere during the meeting.
MED: How did this experience/process differ from other communities you have worked with?
MR: Buckley has operated a plant in Dallas since 1922. They apparently do not want industrial development in the city of Dallas. We were unable to find a location within the Dallas city limits that was acceptable to them for us to build a new plant. Waxahachie was no better. Waxahachie’s planning department vacillated on our project. We even purchased 18 acres in Waxahachie to build on after an initial positive response from the city. Then they vacillated and we struck Waxahachie from consideration. We turned to Midlothian after that and it was the best decision we made in this process. Midlothian understands and desires heavy industry and desires the jobs and tax revenue associated with it.
MED: What advice would you give to other companies who might be considering locating in Midlothian?
MR: Midlothian’s business environment is second to none. Its proximity to surface transportation and rail transport makes it highly desirable as a distribution point. Midlothian city government is amenable to development and works to provide a positive business environment. Any company would do well to have a facility in Midlothian.
* To learn more about Buckley Oil, visit buckleyoil.com.
** Note: As of January 2017, Mark Riggs has retired from Buckley Oil after nearly 30 years. For current questions or concerns, please contact David Moore, executive vice president of Buckley Oil.