DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Regional Chamber says businesses are looking at potentially relocating corporate headquarters or building regional offices in North Texas, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Rosa, the senior vice president of economic development for the Chamber, said, "We've got about 20 projects that includes manufacturing, it includes corporate headquarters, it includes corporate offices."
Rosa said nearly half of those projects came in after the pandemic arrived in the U.S. "Last week, we saw five new projects come in."
One of those projects he said involves a very large company thinking about 1,500 jobs for the DFW region. "For this particular project, a campus environment worked well for them."
He said the Chamber organized a virtual site visit for the firm last week with other peer companies in North Texas.
Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Ginovus, a site selection firm based in Indiana, said "I think that is another kind-of secret sauce so to speak for the Dallas-Fort Worth area is their ability to move at the speed of business."
He said client businesses in the dense urban areas, in the high tax states of New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois are doing risk assessments of their current operations to prepare for future pandemics. "It really is calling into question for companies how much do we continue to put in terms of human capital and financial assets in those locations."
Aside from relatively low costs, a plentiful workforce, and good business climate, Gigerich and Rosa said North Texas is also less dense and offers a variety of settings: urban, suburban and rural.
Gigerich said because of supply-chain issues exposed during the pandemic, some firms are looking to move some of their manufacturing facilities from Asia to the U.S. "Dallas-Fort Worth is very, again through those fundamentals I mentioned earlier, very well-positioned for manufacturing. It's continued to grow, it has a workforce that can address all industry sectors."
The workplace will likely change too.
While Gigerich and other experts believe some companies will have more of their employees work from home, some firms will still need their employees to work collaboratively at offices. "You're going to have office space that largely will be for convening either meetings, conferences, or bringing people together to collaborate on special projects and less so of having people in cubes. I also think too we're also going to see companies say ok, we're going to have more locations. Instead of having maybe a couple of large companies with 1,000-2,000 people, they might say we're going to have four to five locations that maybe have 500 people."
North Texas has seen its share of new corporate headquarters and offices, and Rosa said they help attract other firms. "Those companies are very strong testaments for the ability of a new company to come and join our market."
Rosa said the DFW region added 128,000 jobs last year. "2019 was one heck of a year for our region. We led the nation. That was the third year in a row that DFW led the nation in net job gains. Only Texas of course, California and Florida created more net new jobs as states."
Gigerich said all 18 companies his firm helped relocate to North Texas over the years have been very pleased with the outcome - a fact he says is rarely seen across the country. "The public-private partnerships we see throughout the DFW area is fantastic. There's only a couple of places around the country we believe where we see that same experience."
He said they include Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
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