The Sherman Economic Development Corp. is adding 63.6 new acres to the city’s Progress Park industrial area.


SEDCO announced it had closed on the purchase of the land, which is just west of the Panda Power plant on the city’s southside, in a news release Wednesday.


“The land will be added to our overall marketing strategy to bring in manufacturing investments and primary jobs,” SEDCO President John Plotnik said in the release.


The SEDCO board of directors voted to purchase the nearly 64 acres of land for $450,000 in September. At the time, Plotnik said after a survey and title report on the land during the corporation’s 60-day due diligence period, the final price would be around $475,000.


Plotnik said last month SEDCO was working with 17 companies looking at moving into Progress Park. In the release, SEDCO staff said the new purchase is part of an effort to acquire more land to market to companies looking to relocate or expand in Sherman as much of the land in Progress Park has been earmarked for incoming projects. The nearly 64 acres of property will also be accessible by the city’s Progress Drive, which currently dead-ends near the northeast corner of the land.


“This is probably the last rail-served site of this size in Texas,” Plotnik said in September of the 63.6 acres being purchased. “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, we might be able to bring some additional investments into Sherman.”


The purchase comes a week after the former MEMC building sold to global optical communications company Finisar and two weeks after SEDCO announced 48 acres being held for a possible $1 billion data center development in Progress Park I was back on the market.


Finisar was awarded the MEMC building, which is at 6800 U.S. Highway 75 south of Progress Park, for a $20 million bid by a court in New York as part of a bankruptcy sale. SunEdison, which owned the MEMC building, first sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2016 and recently won final approval for a reorganization plan from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein.


Plotnik said there were three other projects interested in the Progress Park I land that was on hold for the proposed data center last month.


In June, the SEDCO board of directors approved a contract to sell 48 acres of Progress Park I to Thea Development to develop the infrastructure for five data centers as part of facility to be called Cassini Gateway I. At the time, Plotnik explained each of the five data center buildings would be an approximately $200 million facility and in excess of 200,000 square feet.


“We’ve got projects everywhere from 30 to 50 acres to $50 million to $85 million in investments that are looking at our park,” Plotnik said.


Last month, the SEDCO board also approved the sale of 22.5 acres of land in Progress Park IV to FedEx Freight for a planned local expansion that will see the company invest between $10 million and $11 million on a new facility and add 45 new employees.


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.


Both Plotnik and Thea Development CEO Margie Guido said the data center project is still a possibility for Sherman.


“We still believe this would be a great project for a data center because of the heavy power that runs here and the water we have available,” Plotnik said. “But we don’t want to turn away projects and hope to get a project. She’s still working on it, however, we want the opportunity to continue to market this property — it’s just too valuable of a piece of land.”