Photo: Karahan Cos.

JPMorgan Chase signed a letter of intent to build at Plano’s Legacy West development, moving 6,000 employees there over the next three years. Photo: Karahan Cos.

It’s been a rumored deal for months now, but now, Plano has another reason to celebrate. JPMorgan Chase has selected an anchor corner in Legacy West to build a $300-million, 1-million-square-foot high-rise campus to house 6,000 relocated employees from around DFW.

JPMorgan Chase signed a letter of intent Thursday to build at Legacy West, Plano’s 240-acre development. Construction is slated to start later this year, Chase spokesman Greg Hassell told Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News.

The empty lot, located near the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, is next to the new Liberty Mutual Insurance development, a $325-million office campus under construction now.

The letter of intent ends months of searching by Chase to find a location to consolidate some North Texas workers from Farmers Branch, downtown Dallas, Lewisville, Coppell, and other locations into a corporate office complex.

“We expect the first employees to start moving in to the new campus in the second half of 2017—total move-in will last through 2018 and 2019,” Hassell told Brown. “Over time, we expect 6,000 employees to work at the new campus — roughly half of our employee population in the Metroplex. We haven’t figured out where everybody comes from yet. We have people in a number of buildings across the Metroplex.”


This is one of those little technical nuggets that illustrates how Washington is stealthily destroying the housing market. The feds are scratching their heads, trying to come up with a way to keep banks from jacking around with mortgages and selling bad loans off in tranches as securities, and that’s a good thing. One of the things they came up with in financial regulation last year was to make banks keep 5% of the loans they sell off. That way, they are not as likely to sell off, excuse me, crappy loans (like they did before the crash) because they will have some skin in the game. But then some senators pushed to exempt some kinds of mortgages from the 5% hold, namely, those in which the buyer puts down 20% or more, because that is usually a more secure mortgagee because the buyer has more skin in the game and is less likely to default. OK, makes sense.

But the problem is this: most Americans don’t have 20% to put down on a home. In fact, 6 out of 10 US buyers, according to LPS Applied Analytics, put down less than 20% on a home.¬† What’s going to happen if the banks are required to retain that 5% skin in the game portion on loans with less than 20% down? They will charge more for them in higher interest rates and fees, which means another hurdle in home affordability for those who really don’t need it: the lower and middle class. In fact, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), says ‚Äúinstead of allowing creditworthy individuals to participate in the American dream of home ownership, a 20 percent ‚Äî or even a 10 percent ‚Äî minimum down-payment requirement could relegate them to long term rental status‚Äù and draw out the housing crisis. Cleaver is a member of the Black Congressional Congress, and I think he’s spot on. (Question: where is our Eddie Bernice Johnson on this one? Busy handing out scholarships?) The problem is that some people might be ale to scrape together 10 or 20% down in an area where housing is relatively cheap, but what about places like New York City or Washington, D.C?

You rent, I guess.

Here’s the article from the Washington Post. Treasury is apparently collecting public comment on the proposal through June. Some low-down-payment loans would still be available without the higher rates and fees through federal programs such as those offered by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. But wait — the Obama administration has said it wants to eliminate Fannie and Freddie shrink the FHA‚Äôs role.

Their motto? Let them all just rent.