Harry!

I met Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere at a beautiful dinner party last Thursday evening, and I am besmitten. Not only do we share the same city route to life in Dallas —  via New York City —  he is one of the most dedicated young politicos I have ever met. The fact that he is The One guiding Plano through its super growth spurt fascinated me. Who is this interesting man running the show in what was once a sleepy farm bedroom community of Dallas, a suburb the Dallas elite very much disdained in the 1990s? Get a load of this quote from a story written about Plano housing in 1998:

Jeff Witt, the long-range planner for the city of Frisco who held the same job in Plano for 2/2 years, fears a manufactured slum. “1 was always concerned with the housing stock in Piano,” he says. “You have people who don*l want to invest in their houses. Ultimately, you have a very expensive deteriorating structure.” Witt says that the irony of the looming problem of shoddy Piano (sic, I think they mean Plano) housing is that it is a direct result of the city’s incredible growth and success. Perhaps the biggest reason the city has been able to attract some of the best companies in America is the affordable housing. Developers who erected hundreds of homes a year and kept unit costs down could sell for cheap and still maintain a solid profit margin, and employees transferred from Los Angeles or Phoenix or Boston were amazed to find 3.000 square feet for $250,000. The waves of migratory rich moved to North Texas, and, in a state where unions have always been weak, the work of laying bricks or installing carpentry-jobs traditionally performed by trained, unionized craftsmen-was done by workers with no specialized training. Although cheap labor almost always equals cheap workmanship, all the elements necessary for an unparalleled building boom were there: an abundance of low-wage immigrant workers, low interest rates, and great schools. The race was on.

Well then, cheap houses and all —

But the halcyon present is every day inching its way toward a precarious future. Jeff Witt, for one, is worried about that. “Plano is perceived as a very affluent town,” he says. “It’s a nice ZIP code to have. But that perception can change very quickly.”

Really? Now Plano is a near world-class city competing for, and snagging, some of the top businesses in the U.S.A. And where the hell is Jeff Witt?

And Plano has Harry! (more…)

Ready to move to Plano for the amazing schools? You should consider this listing from Vivo Realtor Bonnie Ottosen.

Ready to move to Plano for the amazing schools? You should consider this listing at 7209 Fair Valley Way from Vivo Realtor Bonnie Ottosen.

Of course a Collin County town made Movoto’s list of top 10 suburbs for schools. But Plano? I was betting on Frisco, Allen, or McKinney for that, but good ol’ Plano was the only suburb in Collin County — and in Texas, for that matter — in the top 10. The next highest ranking Texas town was Cedar Park at 14, followed by League city at 16 and Round Rock at 17. You can read the full list here.

You’re probably wondering about what makes Plano so great for education. Me, too. Plano was measured against its peer towns by student-teacher ratio, money spent per year per student, high school graduation rate, and GreatSchools.org rating (which is sometimes off-based). Here’s what Movoto said:

If you’re surprised to see Plano, TX on our list, well, you must not live here. Locals know that this Dallas suburb receives high marks pretty much across the board—it’s affluent, safe, and,according to these numbers, an all-star student.

Not only did Plano have one of the lowest student-teacher ratios of 14 to 1, but it also had a high school graduation rate of 94 percent and some of the highest test scores in the nation.

Well, well, well. Congrats, Plano. What do you think of the ranking?

The 10 Best Suburbs For Education By Movoto Real Estate

plano arts district

An artist’s rendering of the soon-to-be-renovated Saigling House, which will be the new permanent home of ArtCentre Plano. This will be part of the new Plano arts district in the historic downtown area. Photo: Suzy Sloan Jones

Downtown Plano has gone from sleepy suburb center to bustling business and cultural area over the past decade. Now the city is looking to create an official arts district in its historic 80-acre downtown.

The downtown area has already seen over 50,000 square feet of private development, including more than 1,100 urban apartments built or approved, and the restoration of historic commercial and civic buildings. Multiple art galleries, shopping spots, and restaurants draw people of all ages to the area. An official arts district will is the next step to encourage business and job development, create a tourist and resident destination, and foster local cultural development.

“It’s the right move, especially with all the growth in Plano,” said Suzy Sloan Jones, executive director of the ArtCentre of Plano. “With Toyota, Liberty Mutual, and FedEx headquarters moving to this community, those people will be looking for things to do with the arts.”

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Hungry? Don’t have plans for lunch? Vivo Realty is hosting two fabulous Broker Open Houses today. These two tremendous properties in Plano have a lot going for them, but if you need any more incentive to come out and perhaps even bring a buyer, there will be a drawing at 1712 Glenwick.

Honestly, that party porch and pool looks like the perfect spot to relax in the middle of a busy day. I just wish I could bring my swimsuit for a dip!

Are there any other open houses you wouldn’t miss for the world?

Easy Slider Food Truck is one of the vendors interested in the proposed Plano food truck park. Photo: Miley Holmes

Easy Slider Truck is one of the vendors interested in the proposed Plano food truck park. All photos: Miley Holmes

Plano is one step closer to getting a food truck park this week with the approval of a special use permit and preliminary site plan by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Hub Streat, the proposed food truck park and restaurant concept, is slated to sit at the corner of 14th Street and M Avenue on a vacant 1.6-acre piece of land just east of downtown Plano. The proposal passed unanimously and will go before city council for final approval soon.

Hub Streat will be anchored by a restaurant created from former shipping containers with space surrounding it for two or three food trucks, live music and entertainment, and seating.

James West, founder and president of Hub Streat, told the P&Z commission, “What I’m trying to do here is take several facets and put them in one venue, and part of that is the food trucks, because they attract a lot of excitement.”

Easy Slider Truck was one of the early arrivals on the Dallas food truck scene, and co-owner Miley Holmes said if the Plano food truck park becomes a reality, her teal, stars-and-stripes truck will be there.

“We are super excited—Plano is a tremendous market for us,” she said. “We have a permit to operate there and we visit offices and schools and other events already. People are hungry for food trucks there and we’d love to be a part of it.”

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Toyota groundbreaking 1.20.2015

At a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, about 100 attendees watched as a Toyota Tundra truck moved the first shovels of dirt for the Japanese automaker’s $350 million North American headquarters in West Plano.

The relocation of Toyota Motor Corp.’s $350 million headquarters to Plano from Southern California was North Texas’ biggest corporate relocation of 2014. By the time construction is complete in late 2016 or early 2017, some 4,000 jobs will have been created at or moved to the 100-acre campus, including transfers from California, New York, and other states. Plus, for every one of the jobs Toyota brings to Plano, four more jobs will be created.

That’s a colossal business opportunity for Collin County realtors, who are getting ready to be a part of finding homes for those who need it. The company’s 1 million-square-foot campus is located off the Sam Rayburn Tollway and Legacy Drive in Plano, and many of the corporate employees will want to live close to that area.

“We’re all gearing up for it and we are ready to take them on, whether they’re going into Plano or Uptown,” said David Maez, broker and co-owner at VIVO Realty. “Another thing we’re going to see is all the corporations that do business with Toyota moving to the area. You’ll be adding all those other jobs and people to the area.” Jump to read more!

Toyota Executives groundbreaking

Toyota CEO Jim Lentz, President and CEO Michael Groff, and Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere (center). All photos courtesy of WFAA-TV.

 

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Clair Cannon and her champion show dog, Bebe the Boxer.

Clair Cannon and her champion show dog, Bebe the Boxer.

 

What a wonderful idea to help build camaraderie in a dog-eat-dog industry. Besides helping turn around what could have been a “ruff” day, VIVO Realty helped agents “paws” and reflect on what’s really important: best friends, specifically man’s best friend.

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SUBURBIA

We already told you about the #VIVOLOVESPLANO contest, but just in case you forgot to enter, you need to get your winning submission posted tomorrow!

We love Vivo Realty Group, as they work hard for their clients and know Plano like nobody else! So, of course, Vivo wanted to celebrate Dallas’ most famous burb with a cool giveaway:

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