In 1979, Ross Perot bought 2,700 acres of land in Plano, believing that if he moved the EDS headquarters there, others would come—and they did. Following EDS’ move to Legacy business park in 1985, Perot convinced his customer Herman Lay to relocate the Frito-Lay headquarters later that year.
JCPenney’s move from New York in 1988 burnished a national reputation for Plano and Legacy. Today, the park encompasses more than 14 million square-feet of office, retail, and residential development. Nearly 50,000 people work there.
The legacy continues, with several significant construction projects under way and brisk deal activity:
• On July 9, EnCana Oil & Gas will open the doors of its 13-story office tower in the Legacy Town Center North. It will employ 500 at occupancy and has room to grow. The seven-acre site is designed to accommodate three office towers for more than 1,000 employees.
• MedAssets is constructing a new $28 million campus. It is scheduled to open in 2013 and will house more than 1,000 employees.
• Capital One continues to expand its campus on Hedgcoxe and Preston. It houses the company’s Auto Finance and Mortgage divisions, as well as banking operations. The recent expansion brings the employee count to more than 2,500.
• Heady Investments is currently constructing Headquarters I at Legacy Town Center, six-story, 185,000-square-foot Class-A office building. The site is at the northeast corner of Headquarters Drive and Dallas North Tollway. The $26 million spec building is scheduled for completion by December 2012.
• Trammell Crow announced plans for a 13-story office tower in the Legacy Town Center. The site for the 341,000-square-foot building is located on the southeast corner of Legacy Drive and the Tollway.
• DART is constructing its Legacy Park and Ride transit station southwest of the Tollway and Tennyson Parkway.
• Park Place Lexus Plano is constructing a 170,000-square-foot facility on the southwest corner of Spring Creek Parkway and the Tollway.
• Denbury leased an additional 123,716 square feet of space. The transaction is the largest office lease this year to date in the metroplex. Denbury now occupies one-half million square feet at the Campus at Legacy.
With more than 700 acres of undeveloped land and 400 acres currently available for sale, Legacy has room to grow. The Sam Rayburn Tollway expansion has greatly improved access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and to growing new subdivisions. Legacy’s future is indeed bright.
But growth is occurring in other parts of the city of Plano as well:
• Eltek, a manufacturer of power electronics used in telecom and clean energy applications, is constructing a new facility to house its North American headquarters, production and research labs. After a search for an existing building to lease, the company turned to a build-to-suit. Construction has begun on the site, located in the Research/Technology Crossroads at 2925 East Plano Parkway.
• California specialty-retailer Trader Joe’s will open in September at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Park Boulevard.
• Earlier this year, defense contractor Mustang Technology Group expanded and relocated into 56,000 square feet at 6900 Ave K. The company specializes in radar, guidance, and control systems and sensors used in a variety of weapon systems. It employs about 90 people.
As you can see by this rundown of recent deals, Plano continues to be one of the best places in the United States to relocate or expand a business.
David Ellis is director of marketing for Plano Economic Development, which, along with the cities of Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, is part of the Collin County Regional Partnership, a North Texas economic development alliance.