Photo: Shelby Skrhak

A thousand years ago, I was the founding editor of a weekly newspaper called Plano Insider, which covered features, society events, youth sports and an “around town” calendar of events. Of course, the best part was the “What We’re Drinking” column I wrote weekly, in which I visited Plano bars and restaurants sampling their signature or most unique cocktail. Now I’m brand new to CandysDirt.com so I won’t push my luck pitching that, but I will “get a little Plano in here” to bring you what’s going on outside the loop, starting with a fun Crayola ticket giveaway and this weekend roundup of stuff to do in Plano and Collin County. 

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When you’re relocating for a job, the search for a home can be rife with uncertainty. 

Are the schools good? Is there a grocery store nearby? Are there other school-aged children in the neighborhood? Is it safe?

Well, if you’re not one for shopping or guesswork, this Frisco home is an easy buy. Built in 2005 inside the popular Stonelake Estates, you get a solid house with plenty of room and on a great street.

“This home is a relocating family’s dream,” says listing agent Kathryn Roan with KW Urban Dallas. “When you first move to a new place, it can be so hard to get your bearings. Frisco is a very family-centric community that welcomes newcomers.”

And it makes it very hard to leave.

“We are sad to leave this wonderful community as we have amazing memories here but our children have all gone off to college,” says seller Donna Nimmo. “This home was amazing to raise young children in thanks to the close proximity to the schools and all of the activities.”

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GetMedia.ashxIf you’ve ever thought you needed to compromise when purchasing a home, you’ve never seen one designed by Stocker Hoesterey and Montenegro (SHM) and built by Tatum Brown Custom Homes. Our Monday Morning Millionaire, at 3652 Stratford Avenue, is a “Highland Park modern Mediterranean” that has been designed without compromise… on any front. Which makes it just about the most perfect home ever! (more…)

Bella Custom Homes

Bella Custom Homes has seven amazing and rare lots in Frisco for built-to-suits. This is a custom home available in Frisco.

Frisco real estate is some of the hottest in the nation, with the big influx of new residents who are looking to live close to their work along the $5-billion mile and nearby.

But this huge influx of new residents to the Frisco area means it’s harder to find available lots for true custom homes.

“There’s a shortage of lots—it’s very difficult to get your hands on lots because there’s such a high demand and most of the production builders have locked up future sites,” said Tony Visconti, President of Bella Custom Homes. “There are all these jobs coming to this area, like with Toyota and Liberty Mutual, and these people are looking to build, but there are very few custom neighborhoods.”

Bella Custom Homes, in business since 1993, currently has seven available Frisco lots in two amazing subdivisions, the Hills of Kingwood and Starwood. Both are gated communities with guards at the entrance, and luxe, family-friendly amenities.

“These seven lots offer buyers a chance to own coveted land in Frisco and these are two of the best communities in the city—most of these lots have incredible topography and gorgeous views and this is a rare opportunity,” Visconti said. “We also work very well with Realtors and unlike many custom builders, we pay their commission at the time we pour the foundation. They don’t have to wait 18 or 24 months.”

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Toyota National Headquarters Plano TX

The responses were mostly based on employee comments, but Lentz said he was encouraged by the high number.

“We had a planning number of around 60 percent, so if this holds up, it could mean we would have 3,000 people moving here and another 1,000 new jobs to be filled,” Lentz said from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Of course you know that the Japan-based automaker is building a new North American headquarters in west Plano, and has already completed a plan for the headquarters. Now it’s time to poll who is coming and who is staying.

I saw the campus just before New Year’s, and it is coming along. The campus should be complete by February 2017, with 2 million square feet of commercial space that will cost somewhere north of $350 million, according to Lentz.

One of the D Magazines recently ran an interesting piece where they interviewed a handful (5) of relocating Toyota employees already here. The responses were pretty brief, and it was charming to hear one woman say she loved our steaks. I would love to ask more about our housing stock knowing California housing like I do, so… hmmm.  What was so interesting was that most of the transplants are moving north — McKinney, Plano, Frisco. One went to Southlake, only one went south of LBJ to Uptown. Has Dallas lost the luster?

Meantime, I’ve heard one of the top brass bought in Vaquero, Westlake, while most are just loving Plano. What have you heard? Are you working with any Toyota transplants?

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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The Legacy West development in Frisco, designed by Ross Conway and his team at Gensler. All photos and renderings: Ross Conway

The Legacy West development in Frisco, designed by Ross Conway and his team at Gensler. All photos and renderings: Ross Conway

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Ross Conway

Ross Conway

Ross Conway, AIA, LEED AP, is Senior Associate and Design Director in the Lifestyle Studio at Gensler’s Dallas offices, where he has worked for almost 14 years.

His portfolio includes big names like the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters (The Star) in Frisco, the Legacy West addition in Frisco, Preston Hollow Village, The Shops at Park Lane, The Gate in Frisco, The Music Factory in Irving, and the Brazos Riverfront in Waco.

One of his current tasks is the $100-million Bishop Arts redevelopment in North Oak Cliff, an enterprise he calls “a once-in-a-career project for me.”

Conway grew up in Arlington and earned a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. He and his wife recently built a house in Urban Reserve, a Lake Highlands neighborhood of 50 modern, single-family homes, designed by a select group of regionally and nationally recognized architects, including Evan Beattie, the first person we interviewed for this series. He’s also on the architectural review committee there.

CandysDirt: Where are you with the Bishop Arts redevelopment?

Ross Conway: We will finish the design in next few months, and [developer] Exxir Capital wants to start construction in August for phase one. We want to gradually grow it over a two-year process, getting it built out to let people get used to it, and to take into consideration people’s concerns.

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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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