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‘Boomtown’: Sherman’s housing needs soar with semiconductor fabs on the way, Mayor David Plyler says

The city of about 45,000 residents recently adopted an updated zoning map and retooled its planned development map to help guide the growth ahead.
Credit: Dallas Business Journal

SHERMAN, Texas — With two major manufacturers of semiconductor chips bringing massive projects with thousands of new jobs to Sherman, plenty of questions arise.

One of the big ones: Where the heck will all those folks live?

The city of about 45,000 residents recently adopted an updated zoning map and retooled its planned development map to help guide the growth ahead. The goal is to grow rapidly while keeping the community feel that longtime residents live there for, Sherman Mayor David Plyler said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal this week.

In May 2022, Dallas-based Texas Instruments (Nasdaq: TI) broke ground on the first fabrication facility in what's expected to be a $30 billion, four-factory semiconductor manufacturing campus in Sherman. At full buildout, TI’s Sherman campus is expected to be the biggest electronics production facility in Texas and among the largest manufacturing facilities in the country. About 4,000 new jobs are set to be created with the TI expansion.

And in June 2022, GlobiTech, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based GlobalWafers Co., signed on to build a $5 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant in Sherman — a project expected to bring an additional 1,500 jobs. 

In the Q&A that follows, Plyler talks about steps the city is taking to pave the way for the mind-blowing commercial and residential growth ahead.

How does the zoning map factor in to the growth that Sherman is on the cusp of experiencing with the two semiconductor manufacturing companies that are bringing major investment and thousands of jobs to Sherman?

It’s all related. Normally, we update the zoning map every so often. We've started doing it every year now in accordance with our comprehensive master plan and state law. I like to post it when we do update it to give the developers a good idea of what's available in Sherman.

As you know, we're undergoing a huge transformation in our community because of the TI project and Global Wafers.The new highway's coming in. There are a lot of developers up here and a lot of new homes going in. It's got a boomtown type of atmosphere. We rely on our zoning map and our comprehensive master plan to guide our developers in the development locations so we can retain that community feel. 

How do you keep the community feel and pave the way for massive growth?

Each town has a character that they developed over so many years, and we want to keep that here. There are things that the folks here enjoy and like, and using planned development ordinances and things like that we can welcome these new neighborhoods in, and while they each have their own identity and features that make them unique, our city as a whole benefits because the core places of our community still remain the same. (Planned development and zoning regulations) to most people indicate that, hey, this is still Sherman, this is still my home, and we're part of a larger group now. It's really a good way to ease into larger growth without causing a lot of disruptions in our older neighborhoods.

Have you all quantified your housing needs over the next few years or even 10 years out, given all of the semiconductor manufacturing jobs coming in? How many of those folks do you expect to live in Sherman vs. cities nearby, and how is that changing the nature of your housing needs?

That's an ever-moving target because as you know, when TI comes in, they bring a host of their suppliers and material providers along with their facility, and Global Wafers is much the same way. As these companies choose to locate in Sherman, we're finding that it's an exponential effect because you have the supporting companies as well coming in. 

How do you manage that?

We know several things. No. 1, we know how many people each of these plants is going to employ. We know when they're going to be opening so we can kind of extrapolate how many homes we're going to need.

How many will that be?

For instance right now, we have in excess of 6,000 homes either under construction or about to be under construction in the city of Sherman. We understand that in late 2024 there is going to be some production commencement at TI. Global Wafers is mirroring that kind of schedule as well. So it's quick. I mean, we're not talking five years away. We're talking three, maybe two. So our residential developers are really gaining steam as well as the surrounding towns.

What’s happening residentially in neighboring towns?

In Anna, Texas, they've got a lot of residential going in. Gunther, Texas, has a lot of residential going in. But really, what we're seeing is that the areas with water availability and utility availability are getting served first. And so that puts the city of Sherman right in the targeted area for these developers.

This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

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