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Why Collin County Is A Growth Vector

The Metroplex is growing so rapidly that it is on track toward becoming the third-largest metro in the nation within a decade, and Collin County is one of the submarkets leading that charge.

Historic Downtown McKinney Square

Collin County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. In 2010, the population stood at about 782,000. As of 2017, the total was 969,000, an increase of 24%. Collin has experienced the highest sustained growth rate of any U.S. county with more than a half-million people since the 2000 census.

In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, an estimated net of 80 households per day moved to Collin County. Bisnow’s North 121 Corridor & 380 Boom event next month will discuss the growth in Collin County and its neighbors.

The city of McKinney, one of the county’s most prominent spots, has a young population — a median age of 33 — that has more education than national or state averages, with 45% holding a bachelor's degree or higher, according to Census Bureau data.

"We have a thriving and diversified economy with a strong business climate, but still a relatively low cost of living," Tellus Group partner Craig Martin said.

Arguably that is true for much of DFW, but Collin County also has the demographics to support growth, amenities such as the McKinney National Airport — itself a spur for growth — and still a lot of room to expand, Martin said.

Tellus Group is betting big on the future of the far north Metroplex.

Last year, the company and Minnesota-based Värde Partners jointly acquired Windsong Ranch, a master-planned community in Prosper, west of McKinney. Martin and his partner David Blom, who were the original developers of Windsong, formed Tellus to team up with Värde to resume developing the project.

"In a real estate market with consistently strong job growth, Windsong has experienced strong demand," Martin said. 

Tellus Group partner Craig Martin

Windsong is a 2,030-acre development at 1001 Windsong Parkway South, 2.5 miles west of the Dallas North Tollway on the north side of U.S. 380. The development will ultimately consist of 3,100 single-family homes and 150 acres of mixed-use development.

About one-quarter of its planned houses are completed, and an unusual amenity is also almost done: a 5-acre, man-made lagoon with white sand beaches.

Other developers are eager to get a piece of the Collin County pie as well. In October, IC-SB Princeton Land Partners broke ground on Princeton Crossroads, a 297-acre project that will be anchored by a new city hall for Princeton (east of McKinney) along both sides of U.S. 380.

The development will include the city hall and a new park, as well as 333 single-family houses, 166 townhouses, an apartment community and commercial space.

“Princeton Crossroads effectively becomes the new town center for Princeton,” Range Realty Advisors CEO Chris Burrow said.

The commercial component bring various amenities that the area needs, such as grocery, restaurant and entertainment options. Range is marketing the project.

“There's a significant void of retail services in Princeton, yet dramatic residential growth and high traffic along 380 to support additional retail services," Range Chief Operating Officer Dillon Cook said.

With residential development on fire in Collin County, commercial development will probably follow, though commercial development and absorption isn't at the pace of residential just yet.

According to CBRE data, the DFW submarket that includes much of Collin County saw 379K SF of net office absorption in 2018, but no new office development is underway. The submarket's office vacancy is at 22%, only a bit higher that the DFW vacancy of 20.8%.

In the industrial market, CBRE reports that Allen-McKinney saw 24K SF of net absorption in 2018, with 190K SF of new space underway. Vacancy in the submarket is 4.6%, lower than the DFW average of 6%.

Martin will be a speaker at Bisnow's North 121 Corridor & 380 Boom event on March 7 at the Sheraton McKinney Hotel.