Contact Us
Sponsored Content

Plano, Texas, Is Not Slowing Down As It Enters Its ‘Second Act’ Of Economic Development

Legacy Business Park in Plano, Texas

In 1985, Electronic Data Sources founder Ross Perot purchased 2,700 acres of undeveloped land in Plano, Texas, and created Legacy, a renowned business park where he ultimately moved his company. This decision triggered the corporate headquarter relocations for Frito-Lay and JCPenney, which also located in Plano’s Legacy in 1987. This series of moves signaled Plano had become an appealing business location for growing corporations.

Since then, Plano — a community located 19 miles from downtown Dallas — has attracted over 13,000 businesses and 260,000 jobs from a wide range of industries, including major national and international companies.

Doug McDonald, director of Plano’s Economic Development Department, attributes this positive performance to world-class real estate, outstanding transportation infrastructure, superior schools and a well-educated workforce. 

“We have a talent pipeline of more than 480,000 university students and a highly educated labor pool in Plano, with 59% of adult residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher,” he said. “Companies are attracted to talent, and with labor challenges occurring throughout the world, Plano’s resilient workforce gives our city a competitive advantage.” 

Plano also offers a variety of programs and incentives to support local businesses and continue the city’s decades-long reputation as a global business center. 

Bisnow spoke with McDonald to learn more about Plano’s reputation as an attractive city for corporations and how Plano is moving into its second phase of prosperity and growth. 

Bisnow: What do out-of-state companies look for when considering a move to Plano, and what are some of Plano’s programs and incentives? 

McDonald: Plano is an attractive, pro-business location for corporations looking for a new home. There is no personal or corporate state income tax, and Plano’s location in the Central time zone and proximity to DFW International Airport allows same-day departures and returns for both the East and West coasts. As companies look to consolidate their operations across multiple cities, it makes sense why Plano ranks high on the list. 

Plano’s incentive packages are customized to each business, which may include cash grants, rebates for relocation expenses and permit fees or tax abatements. We also offer a Freeport Tax Exemption program, which is designed to exempt a company’s inventory from property taxes. In addition, Plano does not have development impact fees, and it offers the lowest property tax rate of any city in the North Texas region. 

One of the unique programs offered in Plano is our Special Projects Department, which provides concierge service to ensure a company’s projects move quickly through the city’s permitting process. Our goal is to make the journey to Plano predictable, transparent and consistent, while still offering creative solutions that support a business-friendly environment. 

Bisnow: Why do you think Plano has become such an attractive city for international companies?

McDonald: Education, safety and easy access to international markets help attract international companies to Plano. Plano Independent School District boasts one of the highest performances on college entrance exams in the nation, and the city has consistently ranked in the top five safest cities in America. Business leaders can fly nonstop service to 67 international destinations from DFW International Airport, which is only a 30-minute drive from Plano. Direct access via commuter rail will begin by the end of 2024 between Plano and DFW International Airport. 

Plano is home to some of the world’s largest and most successful companies and conglomerates, which provide a seal of approval for other international companies when looking to locate in North America. This includes Toyota Motor North America, Tech Mahindra Americas Inc. and Samsung Electronics America. Korea’s SK Signet recently opened its first North American manufacturing facility in Plano for EV ultra-fast chargers. Plano was recently ranked No. 1 in the country for workforce and talent for foreign business investment by the Financial Times-Nikkei.

Bisnow: With Plano only having 4% left of vacant land, how do you envision the Economic Development Department’s programs and incentives moving forward? 

McDonald: The majority of vacant land in Plano is within our business districts, but continued activity has reduced the amount of land for new developments. We currently have over 1.6M SF of office space under construction, including two 20-plus-story Class-A office towers. While new office construction is still occurring with strong leasing activity, we have 45M SF of existing office space that may need to be refreshed with new and modern amenities. 

We recently expanded our incentive program to include interior renovation and finish out cash grants that assist with rising construction costs and modernization of existing buildings. We are currently updating our policy to include site modernization grants to assist with the demolition, renovation or construction of on-site amenities for existing office campuses. We know there is a flight to quality when it comes to office leasing, and on-site amenities improve the attractiveness of the building for potential tenants. These new building and site modernization tools help ensure our existing building stock remains first class for new office users. 

Plano Mayor John Muns speaking about Plano's 'Second Act' at a local broker's breakfast.

Bisnow: What do you see for the future of Plano 10 to 20 years from now? 

McDonald: Beyond updating our economic development policies to be responsive to the current market, Plano is also planning for the future by prioritizing reinvestment in our infrastructure.

We currently have over $530M in active capital projects, from rebuilding roadways and infrastructure to enhancing parks and trails. In addition, the first Texas reservoir built in nearly 30 years was completed last year to ensure a healthy water supply for Plano and to meet the water needs and demands of our growing region.

Also, there are two major redevelopment projects occurring that will transform traditional indoor malls into mixed-use centers with outdoor amenities. Plano is a partner in both of these developments.

Plano remains proactive in our reinvestment efforts, which will set this community up for success for the next 10 to 20 years. We’re not slowing down in Plano; we’re just kicking off the second act.   

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Plano Economic Development. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to