A chicken distributor has flown the coop to Burleson.

Chicken E Food Service signed a contract Thursday to build an 89,000 square-foot distribution center and office space on 26 acres in south Burleson, becoming the first tenant at HighPoint Business Park.

The facility, serving Chicken Express restaurants in a five-state region, will become the headquarters of Chicken E Food Service, resulting in about 60 full-time jobs and an investment of $8 million, according to Bradley Ford, Burleson's economic development director.

A tax abatement with Chicken E Food Service will be finalized at the Sept. 3 City Council meeting.

The deal leaves about 134 acres available at HighPoint Business Park for future tenants.

“Our economic development program aims to make our community stronger through new Burleson jobs and new Burleson companies,” Ford said. "Chicken E is right in line with those goals.”

Chicken Express opened its first location in 1988 in Benbrook. In addition to Texas, the distribution facility will service Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Oklahoma, a total of more than 170 franchise locations, according to the company's website, one of which is located on Wilshire Boulevard near Renfro Street. There are also locations in Alvarado, Crowley and Joshua.

The decision came as the company had outgrown its current space, according to a city press release.


Ground will be broken early this month on the facility that is planned to open in the summer of 2014, the press release said.

“Burleson is a great place for industrial facilities to locate," Ford said.

HighPoint Business Park is located on the west side of Interstate-35W, between Bethesda Road and FM 917. According to a city of Burleson Facebook posting, land for the business park was purchased in 2007. That posting also indicated the city expects to learn more about jobs that will be created by the Chicken E Food Service headquarters as the anticipated opening draws closer.

“This is only the beginning for new industrial development in Burleson,” Ford said.

Road construction projects are planned to further provide access to the business park. Vantage Drive will be extended from Bethesda Road south to Cirrus Drive, connecting Cirrus Drive to I-35W. Two lanes of Cirrus Drive will extend from I-35W to Vantage Drive, and two lanes of Vantage Drive will connect Cirrus Drive to Bethesda Road. The phased construction project will begin with Cirrus Drive and Vantage Drive between Cirrus and HighPoint Parkway, followed by the extension of Vantage Drive north to Bethesda Road. The roadway is expected to be complete by June 2015.

 “With quality land opportunities, full utilities to the site and the 2015 opening of a north-south road connecting HighPoint Business Park to the Bethesda Road bridge, we expect to welcome more industrial buildings to Burleson in the new future," Ford said.