Q&A With McKinney’s Paul Grimes
New McKinney city manager Paul Grimes is bullish on the area’s future and excited to help it realize its potential. We sat down with him to discuss his favorite aspects of his new home, as well as his vision for the area and plans to bring it to fruition. We’re excited to witness the evolution of this burgeoning suburb and see the contributions he and McKinney Economic Development Corp president Darrell Auterson make. Look out for Darrell’s Q&A early next month.
Bisnow: What makes McKinney unique?
Paul: From the standpoint of a newcomer, what differentiates McKinney is the environment’s balance of natural and architectural elements—beautiful planning standards and streetscaping, the charming houses, the crape myrtle tree-lined streets and the open spaces.
There are folks from all over the country here, and that gives a diverse and cosmopolitan feel to a community that has done a nice job of preserving its authenticity, history and charm.
Bisnow: How do you think McKinney National Airport is shaping the business ecosystem?
Paul: Our airport is undoubtedly a major economic driver for McKinney. The presence of an airport sends a strong signal to firms that there are advantages of locating here and conducting business here—economies of scale, transportation and shipping opportunities that may not be as accessible in other regions.
Bisnow: What do you believe are some of McKinney’s strongest assets?
Paul: The importance of education can’t be overstated. Solid schools and community college maintain a talented labor pool. McKinney also has excellent housing options and offers a rich variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and price points. Well-established communities and the historic district are complemented by still-growing neighborhoods, all which entice talented workers. After all, business leaders and their employees need schools and housing!
Bisnow: How are local developers creatively using space to enhance McKinney?
Paul: In my experience, cultivating a variety of high-quality housing options, dining and entertainment options are critical components to creating a package that appeals to Millennials. We have a terrific historic Downtown, which exudes a college town vibe that is very attractive to young people.
Our developers have done a nice job with the quality of their product. We just need to continue to attract more destination retail opportunities that appeal to young families and Millennials. With the rise of e-commerce, experiential retail integrated seamlessly into mixed-use is key to bringing in shoppers.
Bisnow: What drew you to McKinney?
Paul: My family was drawn by the very things I mentioned: excellent schools, great quality of life, unique amenities, great character and a sense of optimism. The last one is an intangible that is not always understood. When a community projects optimism—that the future is just beginning and there’s a lot more to come—that is very appealing to people.
Bisnow: How has the previous leadership paved the way for you to succeed?
Paul: From what I have seen, the City of McKinney has excellent staff. They are dedicated and eager to serve the community. The foresight of the elected officials over the years, as evidenced by the numerous amenities and services and development standards, has served the community well.
Bisnow: What are some of your personal goals in your leadership position?
Paul: I hope to foster an environment that focuses on three primary principles: building and maintaining trust within the community; engendering an organizational culture of service, trust, kindness and accountability; and striving for the highest standards of technical competency and operational efficiency. When we invoke those principles, our organization will be able to act nimbly and garner the support of the community.
Bisnow: What are some of your favorite aspects of McKinney?
Paul: The town square, the friendly people, and the nice melding of the new and old.
To learn more about McKinney, click here.