PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - Toyota has changed the landscape near the interchange of the Sam Rayburn and Dallas North Tollways in the last few months, from 100 acres of empty land into its massive new headquarters.
Now that it's all taking shape, the details are evident. The emphasis on glass and a large circular opening above the main lobby and central courtyard offers as much natural light as possible, and that's just part of the environmentally-friendly theme.
One of the perks of being among the first Toyota employees to make the move to Texas is the opportunity to put down roots. That's what happened when dozens of them scattered seeds into the lawns on the perimeter of he campus.
"These are going to be wildflowers native to Texas, and we have an opportunity to sort of seed the environment," Toyota Information Systems manager Tommy Walker said.
The landscaping fits in with Toyota's pro-green priorities that North America CEO Jim Lentz highlighted at a news conference.
"Solar energy initially will provide about 25 percent of our power. Eventually 100 percent of our power will be generated from renewable resources," Lentz said.
The parking garages will do more than just house employee vehicles. Irrigation systems are built in to the garages that will allow the company to store about 400,000 gallons of water collected from rain. As for the rest of the campus, Lentz said construction will continue for about another year with each of the seven buildings finishing in phases.
"So the first three will be done we hope probably about April or May with kind of a mid-summer move in," Lentz said.
Toyota expects the last of its employees to move in by November 2017, but by then Plano mayor Harry LaRosiliere said the campus will already be a new focal point for the city.
"This area here is the center of the universe. When Toyota opens its door mid-2017, it'll be the Big Bang," LaRosiliere said.
The Plano police chief said his department will have a satellite office on the campus with several officers stationed there full time.
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