After years of striving to be known as a global city, Dallas has arrived. Its international airport, renowned Arts District, and other factors have compelled numerous foreign companies to base their North American headquarters here.
And they’re not alone. Since 2010, 70 companies—including about 30 from California—have moved their headquarters to the Dallas area, says Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development at the Dallas Regional Chamber.
One of the most anticipated relocations is Toyota Motor North America, which is building a 1 million-square-foot campus in the Legacy West development in Plano. The Japanese automaker is relocating its U.S. base from Torrance, California, and plans to employ 4,000 in Plano by 2017.
John Stich has served as Dallas’ honorary consul-general of Japan for 11 years, and he has noticed a significant uptick in Japanese companies’ interest in North Texas, particularly since Toyota’s announcement in 2014. “Toyota is well respected around the world as a strategic company who thinks before they do things,” he says. “Companies are taking a look and asking why Toyota is going from California to North Texas.”
Stich says more than 150 Japanese companies have operations here, including NEC, Fujitsu Network Communications, ORIX USA, Trend Micro Inc., and a newer entrant, Kubota Tractor Corp.
In May, California-based Kubota announced it was moving its North American headquarters to a $50 million campus in Grapevine, where it’s expected to employ more than 400 workers. CBRE brokers Steve Berger and Ann Huntington represented Kubota in their quest for space, which includes a 125,000-square-foot office building and a 68,000-square-foot research and development facility.
“They were focused on keeping their leadership and professional staff close to the major markets they serve, and close to their manufacturing and distribution facilities in Georgia and Kansas,” says Berger, first vice president at CBRE. “They wanted to be more centrally located to respond quickly to industry and changing markets, and Dallas-Fort Worth placed them in a better place to do that.”
Narrowing down the right North Texas city took about a year, and Berger and Huntington credit the Dallas Regional Chamber, which hosted meetings where Kubota could become more familiar with various communities. “The fact that we have a chamber that provides a level playing field where all the communities in the area can participate was very helpful,” Berger says. “The combined effort makes the area look coordinated and was very effective.”
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