In the last decade, Metroplex neighbors Irving, Frisco and Plano have dominated headlines with exponential corporate, residential, tourism and group market growth.
Built for business, Irving’s bedrock remains its 30 Fortune 500 companies and supporting infrastructure of 75-plus hotels, all adjacent to DFW International Airport. Home to the iconic Mustangs of Las Colinas bronze sculpture, Irving’s tourism has flourished in recent years, principally via the Irving Convention Center (2011), Irving Music Factory entertainment complex (debuting Labor Day 2017) and Westin headquarters hotel, slated for late 2018.
“The continuing market shift to storytelling and unique experiences closely connects to evolving and repositioning our brand for visitors and residents alike,” said Irving CVB Executive Director Maura Allen Gast (see “Industry Insights,” page 18). “With other investments such as the Texas Musicians Museum, Water Street dining-retail project and Verizon’s corporately-anchored Hidden Ridge lifestyle project, these assets are critical both for our visitor infrastructure and for corporate residents working to recruit and retain a talented workforce.”
Last year, Texas claimed half of the nation’s 10 fastest growing cities. Second behind Conroe, north of Houston, was Frisco, the former farm town since transformed into a multibillion-dollar city.
“Evolution into a year-round visitor destination has been our greatest change,” said Visit Frisco Executive Director Marla Roe. “Components include adding great meetings hotels and expanding our variety of group options and experiences.”
Throughout, local partnerships and teamwork made it happen.
“The city’s hotels, venues, elected officials and more all understand the power of meetings and conventions, and work seamlessly to help bring business here,” Roe continued.
From 1999 to 2016, Frisco added some 2,007 limited and full-service hotel rooms, about half in the last 10 years. Opened in July 2017 on the 91-acre campus of The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ new multiuse, group-capable $115 million world headquarters, the sleek Omni Frisco Hotel adds another 300 rooms to the count. With five more hotels under construction and yet more properties announced, Frisco’s inventory is set to nearly double by 2019.
Another once sleepy suburb experiencing a giant awakening is Plano, which Mark Thompson, executive director for Visit Plano, said has “come into its own as a meeting destination” over the last decade.
“Plano has become one of the most sought-after destinations in North Texas for groups seeking something outside of the overpopulated metropolitan areas,” Thompson said. “The arrival of Toyota’s North American headquarters and other major players, adding to our already large corporate community, has significantly increased awareness of Plano. We use the Meetings Mean Business brand to help encourage our new corporate partners to have their meetings here.”
With new projects such as Legacy Food Hall, described by Thompson as a “special event venue unlike any other in Texas,” Plano is primed to move forward.
“Our product inventory can now meet the needs of any group or meeting,” Thompson said.