March 2, 2017
By Amy Wolff Sorter
A story that keeps making the rounds of the business media is the “Dallas miracle,” the fact that several major corporations are relocating to North Texas, and are building massive mixed-use campuses to house their employees and provide them with plenty of amenities.
Panelists at Connect Dallas’ “Northward Bound: Cranes and Corporations” session, moderated by Gensler’s Barry Hand, dissected what was going on behind the “Dallas miracle.”
The good news is that plenty of companies and corporations are coming to North Texas. Susan Arledge, with E Smith Realty Partners, pointed out that Dallas-Fort Worth was second behind New York City in the area of job growth. And, she added, not all the jobs – or people – are even here yet. David Ellis with the Allen Economic Development Corp. reminded panelists and participants that there is more to the in-migration than employees. There needs to be enough jobs available for spouses, not to mention good schools for the children.
Collin County is a good example of a community that is offering what the in-migrants need. “You can live at a higher standard of living here than you can elsewhere, and the amenities are great,” Ellis said. “We’re seeing a development of urban nodes, kind of like secondary downtowns.”
Furthermore, it’s fairly easy to get around. Stellar Development LLC’s Steve Graham was impressed that the Dallas metro is “taking care of traffic ahead of potential problems.” Though local drivers might grumble at paying tolls to access the freeway system, “the toll has helped the roads stay ahead of growth,” Graham said. The advanced infrastructure and business-friendly climate were two reasons why Graham recommended a site on SH 121 in The Colony for the massive Nebraska Furniture Mart, which has become its own local economic driver.
The large concern, however was talent. Arledge brought up the fact that Dallas doesn’t have a major university to feed young talent into the workforce. In other words, the Dallas area is importing talent from other locations – and finding it in other companies. “It’s a zero-sum game,” she said. “When employers need to hire, they have to steal from the competition.”
Ellis indicated that, while things are going well in Collin County, potential concerns include growing traffic congestion, and rising costs of construction in creating live-work-play developments that are in demand. Higher costs will boost rental rates. Graham concurred, also cited traffic congestion and employment concerns as potential issues.
However, he also pointed out that the Dallas area is great to work with, and he likes recommending tenants to the metro. “If you live here, you don’t appreciate it as much,” he said. “The reputation DFW has around the country should make you proud to live here. The energy levels in this area are incredible, and you’re used to solving issues before they become too big.”
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