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November 22, 2012

Alliance Airport at a crossroads

It was 1987 when developer Ross Perot Jr. and economist Ray Perryman took a helicopter ride to a cow pasture on the north Fort Worth prairie.

What if, Perot asked, pointing to Interstate 35W and a major line of the Santa Fe Railway, we put an airport right here?

Twenty-five years later, it's much harder to find an empty field between downtown and the sprawling Texas Motor Speedway.

Fort Worth Alliance Airport, developed by Perot's Hillwood Properties, opened in 1989. Despite a setback or two, it became the catalyst for the sprawling AllianceTexas development and massive growth along the I-35 corridor on the city's north side.

In 2010, the 17,000-acre development -- which now boasts a grocery store, movie theaters, apartment complexes and retailers -- topped $40 billion in economic impact for the first time.

For his part, Perryman named the construction of the industrial airport as one of the top 10 economic events for North Texas in the past 50 years.

But today, even as north Fort Worth booms, the city-owned airport that helped start it all finds itself at a crossroads.

Click here to read the full story that ran in Thursday's Star-Telegram and click here to read about Alliance Airport's top executive Tim Ward's retirement.

-Andrea Ahles



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