A surge in office and retail construction is turning former farm fields along U.S. Highway 75 in Allen into the Dallas area's newest business center.
New developments along the highway will add almost 2 million square feet of commercial space and will bring thousands more jobs and shoppers to the booming Collin County suburb."Yes, there is a whole bunch of office space going up in this market," said Philip Williams, chief executive of Emerson Partners, which recently broke ground on a three-building office complex on Bethany Drive. "We're very optimistic about what is happening here."
His project, called Angel Field Center, will have about 166,000 square feet of posh office space when it opens next year.
It's part of the larger Montgomery Farm development.
"This office space is intended to serve the neighborhood," Mr. Williams said. "This is very different from other projects in the area."
Set on 15 acres, the stone and glass buildings were designed by award-winning Dallas architects Oglesby Greene.
With underground parking and heavily landscaped grounds, the Angel Field complex is designed to be eco-friendly, with the latest energy-saving features.
The new office address overlooks the Watters Creek mixed-use development, which is being built by Fort Worth developer Trademark Property Co.
The 52-acre Watters Creek at Bethany and U.S. 75 will contain about 350,000 square feet of retail space and 300 apartments.
On top of some of the shopping space, developers will also construct more than 60,000 square feet of office space.
"It's for the type of tenant that wants to office on top of the store," Mr. Williams said.
Across Bethany from the Watters Creek construction site, developer Duke Realty Corp. is putting up One Allen Center, a five-story office building.
The 150,000-square-foot project will open later this year. And Duke has room left for additional development.
Allen's development totals are at a record level.
"We have coming out of the ground right now about $350 million of office, medical office and retail development," said Jennifer Grimm, marketing director with the Allen Economic Development Corp. "And we have couple more things in the works that will take that up significantly.
"I don't think we have ever had this much construction," she said. "We are moving up to that next level of development activity with Class A office projects and retail that is going to be more of a regional attraction."
One of the Dallas area's biggest office builders recently landed a deal in Allen.
Koll Development Co. has completed an agreement to build a more than 400,000-square-foot office complex in the Village at Allen at the southeast corner of U.S. 75 and Stacy Road.
The larger surrounding development of MG Herring Group will also include 900,000 square feet of retail and a 250-room hotel.
"We have two buildings planned, and each will be about 211,000 square feet," said Koll president Steve Van Amburgh.
Site work for the first four-story Koll building is already under way.
Retail and restaurants
"The impressive thing about this site is the adjacency to both retail and restaurants," Mr. Van Amburgh said.
A lot more retail and restaurant space is coming.
Along with the 900,000 square feet planned in the Village at Allen, the same developer – MGHerring – plans to build a 200-acre shopping, residential and office complex just across Stacy Road in Fairview.
Developer Richardson Properties Inc. has signed up to build an eight-story, 200,000-square-foot office tower in the Fairview project.
The city of Allen expects a spike in its daytime employment – now about 16,000 – when all the new office and retail projects open.
"What we are shooting for is a diversity of projects," said Robert Winningham, executive director of Allen's economic development agency.
"Something we learned from the late 1990s dot-com bust is you really don't want to be too dependent on one sector of the economy," he said.