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What's Drawing Companies To Las Colinas?

The addition of the convention center, convention center hotel and the Toyota Music Factory have primed Las Colinas and Irving to woo big-time corporations with amenities and access, according to panelists at Bisnow's Future of Las Colinas event.

What's Drawing Companies To Las Colinas?
ARK Group co-founder Noah Lazes, Garfield Public Private President Greg Garfield, Irving and Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Bowman, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Maura Gast and BOKA Powell Architects Principal-in-Charge Donald Powell Jr.

The two panelists from the City of Irving, Irving/Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Bowman and Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Maura Gast, said the City of Irving is dead serious about pro-business policy. Gast and Bowman — both of whom work to court major corporations and encourage corporate relocations — repeatedly stated the city’s willingness to compete for corporate headquarters.

One major part of that strategy was the public/private construction of the Toyota Music Factory. By answering the question business people kept asking — “what I am supposed to do for fun here?” — the Music Factory has elevated the marketability of Irving and Las Colinas.

Prior to its opening, Las Colinas was lacking in the entertainment sector, which made it hard to pitch the development as an attractive destination to convention planners or decision-makers in corporations looking to relocate. Finding an office space with live-work-play potential is a priority for many companies in the ever-intensifying competition to hire and hold young talent. 

“When people thought of Las Colinas 10 years ago, it was ‘that is a place you go to work, and you might go to lunch there … but now, I think the 24-hour [activity] is what is going to bring it up to the next part of its game,” JPI Senior Vice President Matt Brendel said. 

“I think the future is bright here.”

What's Drawing Companies To Las Colinas?
JPI Senior Vice President Matt Brendel, Parmenter Senior Vice President Josh Hedderich, Gables Residential head of development Katy Slade, Hillwood Urban Senior Vice President Bill Brokaw and Scott + Reid General Contractors' Brad Reid

The surge in accessible amenities is good for Las Colinas, and it has garnered the development a fair bit of buzz. However, the most foundational aspect of Las Colinas in terms of its chances as a hot spot for corporate relocation remains its proximity to DFW airport, Love Field and DART. This is what really gives Las Colinas the potential the panelists are so excited about, and it is already garnering interest as well as leases.

Parmenter Southwest Region Senior Vice President Josh Hedderich said the combination of amenities, affordability and access to the metro sealed the deal in a recent lease his firm negotiated. 

JPI has three projects going up in the Urban Center right now, and Brendel said one of the Las Colinas projects that opened in April is already over 50% leased. 

“We have been getting about 30 leases a month. On average you get about 25,” Brendel said. “We have been exceeding expectations on our lease-ups and continue to. We continue to see more and more demand here, especially as the jobs come.”