2017 economic outlook bright in Richardson
By Richardson standards of recent years, 2016 was relatively quiet with the pace slowing due to a major presidential election, the ongoing rehab of several key Richardson office properties and a wave of new property owners settling into place.
Nevertheless, as 2016 wrapped up, the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP) had recorded 20 Richardson expansion and relocation projects that will add or retain 2,002 jobs and result in the occupancy of 513,000 square feet of office and flex space. The three largest projects of 2016 were Aprima Medical Software (280 employees from Carrollton), Applied Concepts Inc. (135 employees from Plano) and Qorvo (Richardson expansion for 450 workers).
Both Aprima and Applied Concepts will occupy space in the East Arapaho district that REDP has targeted for economic enhancement.
As 2017 rolled around, many reasons cause optimism in Richardson, which has 4.7 million square foot of available office space, including 11 spaces with more than 100,000 square feet or more of contiguous space. Richardson will welcome its first speculative office building since 2000, when Transwestern Property Company opens the doors of its five-story, 300,000 square foot “3400@CityLine” building mid-year. Lease rates for Richardson offices are some of the most economical in the northeast part of DFW, and as the DART Cotton Belt line extension from DFW Airport to Richardson proceeds, the REDP expects leasing and occupancy to pick up significantly in 2017.
After a year-long effort, the Chamber-lead East Arapaho Task Force has approved a set of recommendations for enhancing economic vitality in that 1,000-acre area east of Central Expressway that will be presented to the City Council at its Feb. 27 meeting. The recommendations include setting a theme of innovation and collaboration, enhancing physical and personal connectivity and setting the stage for the district’s next wave of growth.
REDP also launched its first young professionals talent attraction campaign in 2016. The goal of the campaign is to attract more young workers to live, work and play in Richardson. The campaign was introduced in July with a website that connects young professionals with job opportunities, housing options and restaurant recommendations in Richardson. In addition, five promotional videos were produced to highlight the aspects of Richardson that are desirable to millennials.
During 2016, the Mayor’s Office of International Business was involved in 25 international delegation visits and meetings with foreign dignitaries that involved 164 foreign visitors. Director Mike Skelton traveled to Japan with the TexasOne economic development delegation, met with Japanese companies arranged by the Texas Japan Office, and traveled to Taiwan to meet with economic development and trade organizations, local technology companies and officials at Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park. Skelton also conducted a seminar with Reading, England, on the topic of Brexit via Cisco telepresence network connecting the Richardson and Reading Cisco campuses. Reading UK CIC and REDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding for bi-lateral economic development and Foreign Direct Investment.