Presented by: The Dallas Morning News
Construction has just kicked off in Irving on one of the biggest office projects in North Texas.
It’s a 325,000-square-foot headquarters campus for retailer 7-Eleven Inc.
While Plano and Frisco have captured a lot of headlines this year with the new Toyota Motor Co. headquarters and the $1 billion Dallas Cowboys complex, Irving has had its share of economic development hits, too.
“It’s been a huge year for us, and we have a lot of success,” said Shawn Callaway, interim CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve loved competing for those big deals.”
The 7-Eleven move is one of the most significant in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year.
The retailer is trading its head office location in downtown Dallas for developer Billingsley Co.’s Cypress Waters community on Interstate 635 at Belt Line Road.
The four-story office campus Billingsley is building will have two connected buildings plus a parking garage on the north side of I-635.
The project will be ready by the fall of next year, Billingsley spokesman Steve Grant said.
It’s in the same development where office buildings are under construction to house Nationstar Mortgage and Cheddar’s Casual Cafe headquarters.
Almost 1 million square feet of office space is under construction in Cypress Waters.
Just down the highway from 7-Eleven’s site is Irving’s other big corporate catch, the headquarters of Envoy Air Inc., which used to be American Eagle Airlines.
The regional air carrier is moving its operations from Fort Worth to two buildings on Regent Boulevard, just south of I-635.
Envoy has already started moving the first of 600 workers into the buildings, which previously housed Epsilon, said Steve McCoy, who worked on the deal as a principal with commercial real estate firm Transwestern.
“We had 10 viable options for Envoy, and we chose that one,” McCoy said. “It was a great location by the airport and convenient for their employees.”
Envoy is taking about 150,000 square feet in the two buildings. The company is moving its offices from the American Airlines headquarters complex at the south end of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The buildings became available when marketing services firm Epsilon moved to larger facilities on State Highway 114 in Las Colinas.
“It was a great opportunity because Epsilon moved out and they moved in — it was a plug-and-play deal.”
McCoy said Envoy’s timing for the Irving move was good.
“The space out there is getting gobbled up, and prices are starting to tick upward,” he said.
During the first half of 2014, more than 1.4 million square feet of office leases have been signed in the Irving and Las Colinas markets. That’s second only to Richardson’s Telecom Corridor in total leasing, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.
Large office leases have recently been signed by CCS Medical, Nokia, Verizon and JDA Software.
Cushman & Wakefield estimates that about 18 percent of office space in Irving is empty. But there are far fewer large blocks of business space thanwere available just a couple of years ago.
About 725,000 square feet of new office space is under construction in Irving, most of it already leased to large tenants.
Crawford Electric Supply, a Dallas-based electrical equipment firm, is consolidating its operations to a 160,000-square-foot building under construction at the southwest corner of Gateway Drive and Westridge Circle. The operation will bring about 130 jobs.
Only two speculative office projects with about 350,000 square feet of space are in the works in Irving, but more may be on the way.
“There are four or five more proposed buildings in the pipeline,” said Sarah Hinkley, senior vice president of Peloton Commercial Real Estate.
Hinkley said the new office space is needed for an area that has traditionally attracted a variety of businesses.
“There isn’t a lot left to lease,” she said. “We are running out of space.”