From cotton fields to high-rises

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Legacy Highways 43

Photo credit: Elias Mohammed

When I read Mark Newman’s recent blog entitled “Fresh Concepts in Urban Core,” it made me think how the Legacy/Frisco corridor is rapidly evolving from a nationally known corporate business park into a true live, work, play community with the vision EDS had when they purchased their land over 35 years ago.   The corporate presence of HP, JC Penney, Frito Lay, Capital One, Bank of America and Ericcson has fueled job growth in the northern suburbs. Combine this with other pioneers like Craig Hall developing Hall Office Park in Frisco and the foundation was laid for explosive growth for all real estate categories. Today the area is home to almost 18 million square feet of quality office space and more than 60,000 daytime employees within a 2-mile radius of the Tollway and State Highway 121. All of these factors are driving more office and mixed-use development, and value to these communities.

The highly educated growing labor pool and the strong demographics (average household income of $125,000 – 65 percent above the average for the DFW region) within a three-mile radius of the Tollway and State Highway 121 intersection are the perfect ingredients to establish entertainment venues such as Top Golf, Dallas Cowboys and Stars headquarters, Dr. Pepper Ballpark, Texas Legends, MLS Soccer, and over 5 million square feet of supporting retail in the immediate area – which doesn’t even include the soon-to-open Nebraska Furniture Mart. In addition, several large corporations such as Conifer Health Solutions, Fed Ex and most recently Toyota have chosen to select key sites in the Plano/Frisco area to build their respective corporate campuses. This recent absorption of large land sites for dense corporate users along with a surge in spec development (11 projects currently underway) has caused land values to rise.

Before our eyes we are seeing an area transform to higher density, more urban uses for land partially due to site values now almost 25 percent higher than just 12-18 months ago. By example, at the end of June, Plano City Council approved the request to rezone the undeveloped land surrounding JCPenney’s headquarters from commercial employment to central business to allow for greater development flexibility. Compound this with construction prices escalating 5-10 percent annually and you will see new development more vertical in a mixed use environment, very similar to what you see today at Legacy Town Center. If you look at the spec office today most office developments are mid-rise (higher rents) office towers due to the limited supply of lower cost land. Today there are limited options to develop a typical low-rise office building with tenants and developers being forced to look ever further out for sites that are priced to support this type of product…..think, McKinney, Allen, Lewisville, and Prosper (my former dove hunting and dirt biking turf when growing up).

A perfect illustration of this new and evolving community is that after church on Sunday my wife, Gina, and I sat on the patio of Coal Vines in Legacy Town Center for lunch. What we saw were young and old going to lunch, shopping, walking their dogs, and enjoying the day……a much different energy and life than in the past. This is our future! Try this out and you will see what I mean – on a Friday or Saturday night enjoy dinner (inside or outside) at one of 40 restaurants in Legacy Town Center, watch the band playing near the Cru Food & Wine Bar, walk around the lake across from the Marriott and you will feel EDS’ vision coming to life. This urbanization will only spread to the west and north as JCPenney’s land develops and the future Cowboys headquarters comes to life.

Now, only if the Cowboys could make the playoffs all would be well!


 About the Author

Thelen, Steve_blogSteve Thelen is a Managing Director in JLL’s office tenant representation group.  Throughout his 23-year career, he has been involved in some of the most notable lease transactions in the Metroplex placing him at the top in his profession.  View Steve Thelen’s bio or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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