Richardson’s 2012 business growth driven by three sectors

10/08/2012

As Richardson enters the home stretch for 2012, it is clear that growth in financial services, technology and healthcare sectors are pointing to another banner year. Co-Star figures indicate that through late September, Richardson companies occupy over 880,000 SF more office space than they did at the start of the year. Further, average full service office lease rates have risen from $16.94/SF to $18.44/SF – nearly a 9% increase in 9 months!  

The stand-out project in financial services was State Farm Insurance’s creation of a 1,200-employee “Galatyn Operations Center” at Champion Partners’ 1011 Galatyn Parkway. The 282,000-square-foot lease was one of the largest in DFW this year. The company plans to occupy the space by the 1st quarter of next year. Access to white collar labor and technical talent were major drivers in State Farm’s decision to concentrate some of its operations here. 

Other significant financial service operations that contributed to Richardson’s success in that sector were Travelers Insurance, which looked around but ultimately renewed its lease housing 600 Richardson workers at 1301 E. Collins, and United Healthcare, which became the 3rd party administrator for the Employees Retirement System of Texas’ health plan and added 50,000 square feet to accommodate up to 250 employees at Granite Properties’ 1301 W. President George Bush Highway.

Extend Health, which runs the largest exchange of health insurance products that are Medicare alternatives for people over 65, announced the opening of a 250-employee customer care office at 1350 N. Glenville last year. The company announced in August that it would add another 200 employees at Tod Fobare’s 1122 Alma. Based in San Mateo, CA, Extend Health is run by BryceWilliams, son of the Don Williams of Trammel Crow Co. fame. The company was prepared to file for an IPO in July, but before that could happen, they were acquired by Towers Watson & Co., (NYSE: “TW”) a large human resources consulting firm.

Richardson’s newest star in the financial services arena is Genpact, a 56,000-employee global provider of business process management services. Genpact’s nationwide analysis of the best location from which to access IT talent led them to Richardson, where they signed a 30,000 SF lease at 3101 E. President George Bush Highway to welcome their first 200 Richardson employees. Locally, the company will provide residential mortgage origination services for a number of banks and other financial institutions. 


In the technology space, Richardson was selected by Inogen, an innovative California company, to be its operations base as the company undertakes a major expansion. Inogen has developed a revolutionary portable oxygen concentrator which enables persons afflicted with COPD to escape from being tethered to a heavy tank that requires regular refills. The Inogen device is light-weight and no larger than a purse, and it manufactures oxygen from the ambient air. Inogen has set up shop at 1125 E. Collins, where the company will onboard 200 employees to handle marketing, customer care, assembly and shipping operations. With financial backing from Novo Nordisk, the Danish company that is the largest supplier of insulin in the world, Inogen is well on its way to capturing a sizable share of its market. Inogen’s ultimate footprint in Richardson could be much more sizable than the 31,204 square feet in its initial lease.

Polytronix, as the name implies, invents and manufactures all sorts of electronic products ranging from the instrument panels for the 787 aircraft to architectural glass walls that change from transparent to opaque with the flip of a switch. To meet its customer demands, the company purchased a 100,065 square foot light industrial building complex on N. Plano Road, just south of Arapaho.

Cassidian Communications, which provides advanced emergency communications for police and fire, including those used by the City of Richardson, moved its local office here along with 70 highly skilled workers. InnerWireless, an in-building communications infrastructure company renewed its commitment to Richardson at Cardinal Park while being acquired by Pittsburgh-based Black Box Corp. (NASDAQ: “BBOX”). A Sevin-Rosen backed start-up, InnerWireless has come full circle since ex-TI-ers Ed Cantwell and Darla Braun transformed it from a concept to a viable operating company. 

 

In healthcare, the Methodist Health System broke ground in September for an ultra-modern 266,250, 125-bed hospital facility at its Bush/Renner campus.  The  four-story acute care hospital is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014. The high-tech, sustainable facility will offer enhanced health care services to residents in Richardson, Garland, Murphy, Plano, Sachse, Wylie and surrounding areas. The new hospital will anchor the budding medical services cluster at Shiloh and Renner, while the existing Richardson hospital on Campbell Road will be repurposed as a provider of behavioral and geriatric services.

 

Richardson was also one of the first  beneficiaries of UT Southwestern Medical School’s expansion of its clinical services to suburban branches. UTSW has leased a 2-story, 40,000 SF former Convex/HP facility at 3030 Waterview near the north end of the UTD campus area. UT Dallas employees and students covered under state health plans will receive extra benefits from using the facility, but it is open to the public. Medical services include those in the areas of Orthopedic, Family, Internal, Behavioral,  Oncology, Radiology, CT Imaging, X-ray, Lab, Pharmacy. The 2-story clinic will open in several phases:

 

October 1 - 2/3 of 1st floor will open for Primary care

October 15 - Ob-Gyn will open on 1st floor

November 15 - Orthopedic will complete 1st floor use

March, 2013 - 2nd floor will open with Oncology screening, infusion beds, CT scanner and pharmacy, and clinic will be fully functional

 

For the year thus far, Richardson has recorded 36 projects involving nearly 4,900 new or retained jobs and over 1.7 million SF of leased or released space. While those figures are well above 5-year averages, projects already in the pipeline could boost those numbers even higher.

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