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Plano's Legacy West serves as benchmark in recruitment of DFW corporate residents

An all-star group of cast members behind Plano's $3.2 billion Legacy West mixed-use development showed up to Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony, officially opening the doors to the corporate magnet.

In all, the carefully curated magnet conceived by Legacy West Master Developer Fehmi Karahan has attracted the likes of Toyota North America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Boeing's latest divisional headquarters and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Show Full Story

Legacy West master developer Fehmi Karahan on the job site at the northern end of Windrose Avenue near Liberty Mutual's new hub and the project's food hall.

But the lesson of the 255-acre Legacy West is that there is a corporate demand for urban-style nodes, said Barry Hand, a principal in Gensler's Dallas office, which worked with Karahan on the designs of Legacy West.

"Legacy West has a fairly unique concentration of corporate infrastructure and is its own urban node," Hand told the Dallas Business Journal."The lesson that everyone is learning is that it pays to provide the amenities that attract the corporations, which are trying to recruit the best and brightest from the community."

Hand, along with Karahan, Roger Staubach, Robert Shaw and Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, opened up the enviable corporate magnet in Plano, which, in turn, has opened up Legacy West — which some have called North Texas' next central business district.

And other North Texas cities want to follow in Legacy West's footprints in bringing new corporate residents to the region.

Houston-based Hines recently unveiled a similar proposed mixed-use development in Allen. In addition, McKinney Economic Development Corp. has a development agreement with the Dallas-based KDC, who is the developer leading the charge on building corporate campuses in Legacy West.

By providing alternative workplaces and alternative living spaces, Legacy West has been able to attract executives wanting to move into boutique or specialty campus office space in an urban-like environment, Hand said.

"There's a desire for this type of lifestyle," he added. "I think we will have quite a few urban nodes on the North Texas landscape."

So, what does it take to become an urban node? Hand said it all comes down to transportation corridors, such as the Dallas North Tollway, U.S. 75, State Highway 121 and U.S. 380.

One wild card to note: The potential impact of driverless cars on developments like Legacy West.

"Designers don't know the answer to how driverless cars will affect a lot of our projects and how we build for parking infrastructure," Hand said. "No one in the industry really knows what will happen to the parking demands. I think we will have to see how it unfolds and adapt to it."

Employees with Toyota North America have begun a phased move in to the new 100-acre North American campus at Legacy West. Liberty Mutual Insurance and JP Morgan Chase are expected to follow by the end of the year and into early 2017.

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