MEDC updates strategic plan to grow business in McKinney

The MEDC offered Independent Bank an incentive to build a new $52 million corporate headquarters in Craig Ranch.

The MEDC offered Independent Bank an incentive to build a new $52 million corporate headquarters in Craig Ranch.

The McKinney Economic Development Corp. is already making strides in its increased efforts to attract businesses using its new strategic plan.


On July 27, the MEDC announced that Independent Bank will build a new $52 million corporate headquarters on 10 acres of land at the McKinney Corporate Center at Craig Ranch. The MEDC has offered Independent Bank an incentive if the company maintains 221 jobs and creates 200 jobs. Independent Bank plans to bring up to 400 jobs in the next five years, said Peggy Smolen, Independent Bank marketing director.


The McKinney Economic Development Corp. updated its strategic plan in May to include five target industries and four fundamental areas of economic development, which will be used as guidelines when it comes to attracting businesses.


The reason for updating this plan, said Darrell Auterson, president and CEO of the MEDC, is to give the corporation a roadmap and dedicated focus. The five-year strategic plan, McKinney-Advancing Our Vision 2022, will also help align the goals of the MEDC with those of the city.


MEDC updates strategic plan to grow business in McKinney“Any time you try to compare what McKinney has accomplished from a commercial perspective versus Frisco, it’s going to pale in comparison because there’s really no one else around that can compare to [Frisco],” Auterson said. “Same with Plano.”


However, Auterson said the time is now for growth in McKinney. This anticipated growth and the new strategic plan will, at some point, help McKinney compare to its neighboring cities, including Allen, Frisco and Plano, Auterson said.


“We’ve got a new strategic plan here,” Auterson said. “The city’s got a new strategic plan; they’re working on getting their comprehensive plan rolled out, so I think that the time is now for this community.”



Reaching the goal


In updating its strategic plan, the MEDC identified five target industries to proactively attract to McKinney.


“Now that doesn’t mean that we won’t welcome other businesses in, but these are areas where we’ve seen significant growth trends; we’ve seen significant impact on local economies in terms of wage levels … and other factors that we consider as well when we evaluate where we want to target our marketing efforts,” Auterson said.




“I think we’re going to surpass Allen and Plano in terms of development because we have so much land that is undeveloped.”


— Brian Lockley, McKinney Planning Director



The five target industries include computer technology and services, wholesale trade, vehicle manufacturing and transportation, finance and insurance, and professional services.


Computer technology and services includes computer manufacturing; data processing, hosting and related services; custom computer programming services; and computer systems design services, according to the MEDC strategic plan.


McKinney is also a good market for wholesale trade due to its location within an “explosive growth area of North Texas and its major transportation corridors,” according to the plan.


When looking at vehicle manufacturing and transportation companies, Auterson said he believes this industry would be a good fit for McKinney due to McKinney National Airport’s attractiveness, which some companies will find as an ideal asset.


Health and medical insurance carriers fall under the finance and insurance industry MEDC is looking to attract.


“North Texas is becoming a major financial center, and we see that trend continuing,” Auterson said.


The last of the five industries is professional services, which include administrative management and general management consulting services in addition to process, physical distribution and logistic consulting services, according to the plan.


All of these companies would likely bring competitive or high wages to McKinney. In return, McKinney can offer educational programs at McKinney ISD, Collin College and other institutions to support these businesses.


In addition to these key industries, the MEDC identified four fundamental areas of economic development, which include business retention and expansion, business attraction, entrepreneurship and competitiveness.


The competitiveness initiative will help the city be “more effective in winning recruitment and expansion projects,” according to the plan.


“We get a lot of inquiries from all kinds of office or industrial space, and we just have so little product available and a lot of times companies, they need 20,000 square feet that they can move into in the next six months or less, and oftentimes we just don’t have that,” Auterson said.



Anticipating demand


Initiatives to solve the lack of inventory in McKinney have begun taking shape.


At the MEDC special meeting July 24, four developers presented their ideas for speculative industrial projects. These projects will be public-private partnerships and arrangements that will put product on the ground with everyone benefiting in the end, Auterson said.


“[McKinney is] getting big enough now to where we can sustain our own very robust business environment right here,” he said. “We can have the kind of live-work-play environment that people that chose to go into Legacy West [want]. … It’s coming. It’s not quite here yet, but it is coming.”


The MEDC is also expected to roll out a new brand identity for the Gateway development located at the northeast intersection of SH 121 and US 75.


“My guess is that a lot is going to happen in [McKinney over] the next 10-year period,” Auterson said.


City Manager Paul Grimes said he thinks the vision for growth in McKinney is to keep it going and attract “high-quality development” and companies that are going to be in McKinney for the long run.


There are approximately 22 square miles of undeveloped land within city limits and approximately 40 square miles of undeveloped land in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction—land the city has the authority to annex in the future, McKinney Planning Director Brian Lockley said.


“I think we’re going to surpass Allen and Plano in terms of development because we have so much land that is undeveloped,” he said. “I think we’re just right for the type of development that we anticipate.”

By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


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