Caterpillar dealer Holt Cat plans to invest $77 million into its operations across Texas, with about $10 million reserved for an overdue expansion of its San Antonio headquarters, the company said on its website. Much of the investment will help Holt Cat respond to an increase in business, largely as a result of the Eagle Ford Shale boom in recent years. But Holt Cat officials said an overall uptick in the economy has improved revenues throughout Texas and the company plans to invest in building new stores and warehouses or to renovate existing ones in some of the cities where it operates as an authorized Caterpillar dealer.
Holt Cat, which rents, sells and repairs heavy equipment in more than 100 Texas counties, plans to add a 47,000-square-foot facility at its San Antonio headquarters to replace an outdated service shop built in 1957. With 16 “super-bays” that can accommodate between 32 and 40 machines, the new building will expand Holt Cat’s existing service capacity by 40 percent. Vice president of public affairs Howard Hicks said the air conditioning will be its best feature.
“By having a state-of-the-art facility — especially one with air conditioning — it’ll give us a lot of advantage over other people as we compete for skilled technicians,” Hicks said. “We’re competing for workers not only within the industry but also the Eagle Ford Shale. There’s a lot of competition for each and every good worker.”
Hicks said the company plans to hire more technicians for its improved service shop, noting that Holt Cat already has about 90 open positions listed on its website. The jobs will help staff new and expanded facilities across Holt’s statewide operation.
In January of this year, Holt Cat broke ground on a $8.5 million, 38,000-square-foot facility in the Rio Grande Valley, and last month began work on a $13 million, 52,000-square-foot store in Little Elm to serve the northern Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Construction on the new shop in San Antonio should be complete late in the second quarter of 2014, said Holt Cat marketing manager Joe Carrion. Once workers move into the new space, the company will convert the existing facility into a specialized repair shop and larger parts warehouse.
“The economy in general is up, but with the Eagle Ford right here in our backyard, we’ve just had a lot of very positive direction in our business,” Carreon said. “As our customers have more business, they need more parts and more repairs, so we were just way due for upgrades.”
Hicks estimated that Eagle Ford development is driving one-third of Holt Cat’s total business.
Based in San Antonio, Holt Cat is No. 15 on the RER 100.