Flower Mound's new economic development director looking to attract more hotels, office spaces

man standing in front of map
Ray Watson has worked in economic development for the last 20 years, helping towns and consulting with companies. (Samantha Van Dyke/Community Impact Newspaper)

Ray Watson has worked in economic development for the last 20 years, helping towns and consulting with companies. (Samantha Van Dyke/Community Impact Newspaper)

Ray Watson was announced as the town of Flower Mound’s new director of economic development in July and started in his new role in late August. He has worked in economic development for 20 years, both with other cities and towns as well as with companies as a consultant. Watson shared how he plans to help the town develop as he takes on this new role. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Tell me a little bit about your background and experience in economic development.

I spent 10 years doing economic development for different cities and regional development groups. And then the last 10 years I’ve been in private sector consulting doing it for the companies’ side of it.

What does a director of economic development do?

I’m really in charge of promoting the [town’s] economic growth and stability. So, I’m working with companies that are existing to do business retention and expansion. ... It’s a means of helping companies to expand, grow or basically just stay healthy in the community. The other part of [the role] is attracting new businesses to the community that are not currently in the community. The main goal is to understand what’s available, property-wise, and then matching that up with the appropriate businesses.


How do you stay true to Flower Mound’s close-knit feel while also bringing in economic opportunities?

[I stay true to that by] basically just understanding what the community wants as a whole and what fits with the community. We’ve lived here for 10 years and understand the community and what makes it special.

What kind of businesses are you looking to bring to town?

The main [types of businesses] that we’re looking at are hotels and office spaces, and [we are] looking at corporate headquarter relocations to the area. One of the things that we have to deal with is that Flower Mound has become a very expensive place to live. So, therefore, if you want the benefit of companies coming here, then you’re going to have to have headquarter facilities in order for them to actually have employees living here. That’s kind of the direction we’re looking at right now. [We’re] also looking at high-end retail, restaurants, hotels and stuff like that that actually fit the area and make it a better place to be.

Are you actively seeking out businesses to bring to Flower Mound or do they often approach the town?

Both. There are companies that are coming here on their own and that want to be in the region, and then we also are actively seeking out companies.

How do you go about determining what businesses the town needs and how to attract them?

A lot of that is done by talking with the public at different events and meetings. The key is to be an ambassador for the city in the business world and to make sure that corporations understand that there’s an opportunity here for them to be involved in a really great community. [The goal is also] to put Flower Mound in front of those businesses.

Are there any areas of town that you are actively working to develop more?

Yes, [I am looking to develop] the Lakeside [Parkway]/[FM] 2499 corridor between Gerault [Road] and [the] Lakeside development, and then also the western edge of the [town] where the [Flower Mound] Ranch development is being proposed as well as out to [I-]35. The goal is to identify both corporate and retail [businesses] that fit the nature of that area out there that can be sustainable, both for the developers and for the community.

What does Flower Mound have to offer that surrounding towns and cities do not in terms of economic development opportunities?

I think for what we have left as far as developable land goes, we’re growing at the speed that we’re supposed to be growing at. When you look at what Flower Mound has to offer to a corporation or to a business, it really is a high-end net wealth per family unit, and just a really great place to be.
By Samantha Van Dyke
Samantha Van Dyke is Community Impact's DFW Metro Reporter. She previously served as managing editor of The Arkansas Traveler.


MOST RECENT

Honest Frisco opened in November at 1640 FM 423, Ste. 200. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
Indian vegetarian restaurant Honest Frisco opens near India Bazaar; Lewisville ISD board names an interim superintendent and more top DFW news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

man speaking at podium
Denton County commissioners approve adjusted county election precincts

Changes were made to precincts that had more than 5,000 active voters located within the boundaries.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

rendering of building
Sherwood Bedding to come to Lewisville

The mattress store signed a 10-year lease agreement to be housed at Austin Ranch.

road construction
New lanes now open on Sam Rayburn Tollway as expansion project wraps up

The $200 million Sam Rayburn Tollway expansion project, which added one additional lane in each direction, has been completed.

Lewisville water tower
Lewisville to host second public hearing on grant funding

City officials rely on public comments and suggestions to determine needs of residents and decide how to best use grant funds.

hands holding a phone
Connect bus service in Lewisville ends as riders shift to GoZone on-demand service

The Connect bus will stop running in Lewisville starting Dec. 24 as public transit service there shifts solely to the on-demand ride service GoZone.

enchiladas
Primo's to open in Flower Mound River Walk

The Flower Mound River Walk will see its second restaurant opening.

The school board will consider whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or make an appointment. (Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Hays CISD to hold special meeting on resignation of board member; Montgomery approves plan for downtown and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 2.

25 mph street sign
Flower Mound Town Council votes to lower residential speed limits

New speed limit signs will be posted in neighborhoods over the next 18 months. The new speed limit will go into effect once a new sign is in place.

man
Flower Mound Planning and Zoning Commission member announces bid for Town Council seat

Robbie Cox has announced he will be running for Flower Mound Town Council Place 3 next year.

Group posing for photo
Denton County commissioners create new sexual assault response team

County commissioners appointed eight people to serve on the county's inaugural sexual assault response team.