With available space in Sherman’s Progress Park industrial area dwindling, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. is planning to purchase an additional 64 acres for the park just west of the Panda Power plant on the city’s southside.


The SEDCO board of directors voted Tuesday to put the 64 acres of land under contract for $450,000. SEDCO President John Plotnik said the corporation will have a 60-day due diligence period to do a survey and title report on the land, which will likely bring its final price to around $475,000.


“With the amount of companies we’re working with now, some 23 companies, my concern is we’re going to very quickly be out of affordable land that we can (use to) incentivize companies to come to Sherman,” Plotnik said. “This is probably the last rail-served site of this size in Texas. It’s truly a very valuable piece of land, so if we can get a big enough company in here that needs rail, we’re working on a few right now that we’re excited that we might be able to bring some additional investments into Sherman.”


The 64 acres of property would also be accessible by the city’s Progress Drive, which currently dead-ends near the northeast corner of the land.


Thea Development LLC currently has about 90 percent of Sherman’s Progress Park I under contract with plans to use it to develop the infrastructure for five data centers in the area. The company is paying around $1.84 million for the 48 acres of land, as each acre was appraised at about $40,000. Cassini Gateway I, as the data center development will be known, will be able to accommodate more than 1 million square feet of independently-owned data centers.


When the deal was announced, Thea Development CEO Margie Guido said the data centers her company is targeting contain computer servers that hold information for the internet and provide cloud services.


“The data center has this under option for 60 days,” Plotnik said of the Progress Park I area. “We’re working with them daily on information they’re requesting on the land, as well as state, county and city information.”


Plotnik said several of the other available tracts of land in the industrial park have been earmarked for projects still being discussed.


“Eventually we’re going to run out of land, and so we want to continue to expand the park, which makes this a very important piece to it right now,” Plotnik said of the planned 64-acre purchase.


As most of the other available land adjacent to Progress Park has deep creeks and wouldn’t be suitable for industrial development, Plotnik said future expansion may go outside the current confines of the industrial area.


“We might look outside the park,” Plotnik said, indicating SEDCO may look at land farther west of Progress Park or east of U.S. Highway 75.