Few things can tell a community’s story better than its business residents’ insights. This is why we created the “Why Midlothian?” series.
In this series, Midlothian companies share their experiences, observations and impressions about why Midlothian has proven a great fit for their business needs. We hope their stories will inspire you to consider how you can make something great with us in Midlothian.
A Conversation With ... Stephen Hidlebaugh, Owner, Founders Row, Midlothian, TX
Founders Row is a unique development of historic buildings that have been saved from the bulldozer to be transformed into a unique and exciting retail and restaurant destination.
Midlothian’s blossoming Founders Row offers a creative fusion of vintage and modern with a cosmopolitan twist. The project is breathing new life into gingerbread estates with wraparound verandas and spacious old mansions with elegant interiors. Stephen Hidlebaugh is the mastermind behind this innovative commercial project which has been simmering for years — a decade, to be exact.
Hidlebaugh is also the owner of Duncanville-based Leasing Impressions which designs and builds multifamily housing including apartment complexes and senior living communities. With a master’s degree in architectural design, Hidlebaugh is well-versed in developing new properties and redeveloping existing and historic real estate. He says his design philosophy and diligent attention to detail have been greatly influenced by his travels domestically and to Europe, Australia and beyond.
Hidlebaugh’s vision for Founders Row translates into an inviting entertainment district rich with eclectic dining and shopping options set amidst expressions of yesteryear. The project is destined to serve as a unique component of Midlothian’s charming downtown district. Currently, three historic homes have been moved to the site but long-term plans call for an additional seven homes to be included.
Upon completion in the next two years, everything that’s old truly will be new again at Founders Row.
For more information, please visit foundersrowtx.com.
Midlothian Economic Development: Please share a little background on Founders Row and your long-term vision for the project?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: I have been acquiring property in Midlothian since 1997 and am especially passionate about restoring and redeveloping historic properties. I have long envisioned bringing an innovative entertainment district to Midlothian by rescuing, relocating and repurposing historic homes into viable real estate options for a variety of clientele.
Founders Row will encompass an entire block of meticulously restored homes that will house restaurants, boutique specialty shops, cafes, art galleries, wine bistros and much more. As my family, friends and I have traveled around the world enjoying wonderful things, I thought, ‘Why not bring some of these great things back to our own backyard?’
MED: Why did you choose to locate your business in Midlothian?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: While my business, Leasing Impressions, is based in Duncanville, I have lived in Midlothian since 2011. I have seen the growth first-hand in this community and believe Midlothian is a promising location for business. You certainly get more value for your money here. Also, with its beautiful trees and terrain, the quaint downtown and upscale quality of life, Midlothian is the ideal spot for this one-of-a-kind entertainment destination.
MED: How would you characterize your experience thus far in Midlothian?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: It’s been very positive. The workforce is great, I have tremendous connections with other business owners and the city has been very receptive and easy to work with. I have been working with the city since 1997 and have a great relationship with the team here. In fact, the city created an original model to help facilitate these older homes being saved, restored and turned into businesses. On a personal note, my neighbors in Midlothian feel like family.
MED: As a real estate industry insider, what growth do you see on the horizon for Midlothian and the southern DFW market in general?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: There is no doubt this community is experiencing phenomenal growth. We know that a ton of residents are moving into North Texas, in general, as well as this community. Midlothian has been a hidden gem for a long time, but the secret’s out. The community’s proximity to DFW, its school system, the area workforce and logistical advantages are catching the attention of both families and businesses. While north of the DFW metro is on fire, I believe we will continue to see that growth move south.
MED: What makes Midlothian an ideal place to do business?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: Midlothian’s location is one of its best attributes. Because it is only 25 miles south of Dallas and Fort Worth, you have access to the metroplex and can easily get in and out. Also, because Midlothian is located on the south side of the metro, it’s very easy to connect when you have business in Austin, San Antonio or Houston. When you consider the highway infrastructure, schools, overall quality of life, value for your money, RailPort Business Park and the new Midlothian Business Park, it just doesn’t get much better.
MED: What advice would you give to other companies considering locating in Midlothian?
Stephen Hidlebaugh: I would tell companies to look at the value they are getting for their money here. It’s an easy decision. The city is receptive to new business and great to work with. Also, this area is home to a very large and qualified workforce. There is strong community support here and Midlothian is still a small enough town that you know all the business owners. Midlothian is primed and ready to help companies moving here. It’s not only an easy decision, but a smart one.