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Semiconductor plants propel Sherman into a high-tech future

Sherman’s population could double in the next five to 10 years, city officials say, and its development plan calls for 8,000 new homes.

Update: This story is part of Boomtowns, a look at some of the cities surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth that are attracting the interest of homebuilders, businesses and new residents as the area grows.

SHERMAN — A small-town past and a cutting-edge future are colliding in Sherman.

In the past year, the city of 45,000 has landed two multibillion-dollar projects that will cement its place as a semiconductor manufacturing hub. Taiwanese company GlobalWafers is building a $5 billion silicon wafer plant, and Texas Instruments is investing $30 billion in a complex that will build the chips themselves.

Sherman has long punched above its weight in attracting high-tech manufacturers. Texas Instruments has a decades-long history there, and GlobalWafers subsidiary GlobiTech, which runs a plant applying a coating to silicon wafers, was founded there.

But the new projects are still a big deal. Even after big tax breaks for the companies, the plants represent hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable property value, boosting revenue for the city, its school district, Grayson County and Grayson College. City leaders hope to use their slice of the pie to invest in parks, infrastructure, police and firefighters.

Meanwhile, Sherman’s population could double in the next five to 10 years, city officials say. The city has a development plan for 8,000 new homes.

“No longer is Sherman, Texas, a small, rural, pass-through town on your way out of the Metroplex to Oklahoma,” local real estate agent Evan Martin wrote in an email.

More fast-food restaurants are coming to town. Mayor David Plyler hopes to see new premium restaurants join them as well as retailers like H-E-B, Costco and Trader Joe’s.

The city has built a new high school, with facilities designed to prepare students for STEM careers — including at places like Texas Instruments.

“You’re going to want to gear some of your curriculum, especially your career-force curriculum, into pathways that would lead them to potentially working at a place like that,” Sherman school superintendent Tyson Bennett said in June after Sherman won the GlobalWafers project.

Even as the town grows up, Sherman residents don’t want to leave their roots behind. That truth is on display downtown, where local businesses proudly display their history. The menus at the Old Iron Post tell the story of the restaurant’s namesake, a 19th-century grocery store known as “the vilest hole in town.” The Loft coffee shop displays signs about the history of downtown.

“Pride runs deep,” Martin wrote, for everything from Sherman’s buildings and parks to its history and its school sports mascot — the Bearcats.

Growth has arrived faster than expected. Twenty-year development plans are now five-year plans, Plyler said. But city leaders are still approaching planning and zoning decisions with an eye to the long term, trying to help Sherman maintain its identity as it grows.

“We want to maintain that small-town feel, even though we’re busting at the seams,” Plyler said.

SHERMAN AT A GLANCE

Population: Estimated 44,873 as of July 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Location: 63 miles north of downtown Dallas

Racial demographics: 61.3% of residents were white, 8.8% were Black, 3.6% were Asian and 21.9% were Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Median household income: $50,627 from 2016 to 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Median existing home sale price: $300,000 in July, according to Redfin

Median new construction sale price: $327,353, according to Residential Strategies

Annual single-family home starts: 374 through second-quarter 2022, according to Residential Strategies

School district: Sherman ISD

Master-planned communities: Heritage Ranch is coming soon with plans for over 750 single-family homes. Bel Air Village has plans for 1,000 single-family and 3,000 multi-family units, according to Sherman’s development plan.

Rental communities: A 238-unit rental development and a 156-unit rental community have been approved by the planning and zoning commission as part of the Hickory Hill development.

Retail: Sherman’s downtown has a range of boutiques, a furniture store and local restaurants. The Town Center shopping mall and an adjacent shopping district have several big-box retailers.

Festivals and events: Sherman holds a summer concert series, an arts festival in September and a Christmas parade, among other events.

Infrastructure projects: There are big transportation upgrades coming to Sherman: new streets, improvements to FM-1417 and Highway 75 and new hangars at the municipal airport. Meanwhile, Sherman is planning new water and sewer infrastructure, and the parks department is taking community input on a plan for a community center.

History lesson: An organization called the Young Turks, named for an Ottoman revolutionary group, shaped Sherman’s development in the mid-20th century. Led by local business leaders, the group worked to attract companies like Johnson & Johnson and IBM. Kent Sharp, president of today’s Sherman Economic Development Corp., says SEDCO is following in their footsteps.

Meet the next North Texas boomtowns

As the Dallas-Fort Worth area grows, smaller cities in every direction are attracting the attention of builders and new residents. Here are some of the ones to watch.

A previous version of this story included incorrect U.S. Census demographic information for Sherman, which has been corrected.

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