In September, CNN Money, which is published by Time, Inc., ranked Flower Mound as No. 16 in its annual list of Best Places to Live.
The national recognition is the latest of several other awards the town has received this year that has helped Flower Mound attract companies, brokers and franchisees, according to Andrea Roy, Flower Mound economic development director.
“Those kinds of accolades are wonderful advertisements for the community,” she said. “It really helps us sell ourselves to prospective businesses. It puts us on the map nationally.”
Roy said the accolades are helping to shift the outside business community’s view of Flower Mound from being a bedroom community to a town that is viable for large corporations and office space.
Mark Hemmeter, CEO of Colorado-based Office Evolution, said the town’s ranking in Money Magazine has helped in the decision of bringing the shared office provider to Flower Mound by the end of 2019.
“We now know Flower Mound is one of the greatest places to live thanks to this list,” he said. “This is great because we are looking for dynamic, interesting communities where people want to balance work and lifestyle. Our clients are not typically chained to a desk; they enjoy their lives; and they work, so we think Flower Mound is a great place for us.”
A historic low
From May 1, 2012, until February 19, 2018, 711 new businesses opened in Flower Mound, according to town documents. The largest percentage of growth occurred in 2015 when a peak of 130 businesses were added to the community. Out of those new businesses, a majority were professional office—in particular medical office uses—and restaurant uses.
Roy said office space is running at a historically low vacancy rate of 7.9 percent, which has triggered interest in new office construction.
Going forward the town is focusing its recruitment efforts on higher-end, Class A office, according to Roy.
“We’ve got a wonderful light-industrial community, but we think the office sector is kind of an opportunity that we haven’t realized our full potential on,” she said. “So we are kind of taking matters into our own hands to kind of market that.”
The town has seen some success in 2018 already with a newly constructed office project, North Point Office, which reached 100 percent occupancy before it was completed. Additionally, Realty Capital, the developer of Lakeside DFW and Lakeside Village, is currently constructing an approximately 20,000-square-foot Class A office development that will front FM 2499.
Roy said the town is placing more of an emphasis on Class A office space now due to the fact that a majority of the town’s infrastructure is in place.
“I think our timing is now—we have all the infrastructure in place, we’ve got the access in place, and the developers and the landowners are ready to do something like this.”
Additionally, Roy said the town had to battle the perception of being a bedroom community at the same time it competed against nearby cities who are known for successful Class A office developments.
“We were known as just a residential community,” she said. “A lot of those office brokers just honestly have Dallas and Frisco on their speed dial, and so we are now working with them to help guide businesses in making those decisions to take a look at us.”
Although the town has been working to attract more Class A office buildings, Flower Mound’s Lakeside Business District and Lakeside DFW have already seen rapid growth.
With an occupancy rate of 98.7 percent and almost 900,000 square feet of space added or started construction in the past year, 11 new businesses opened in the Lakeside Business District during 2017.
One business that recently selected the Lakeside Business District was PPG Industries Inc., which is building a nearly 450,000-square-foot facility—the largest distribution center for PPG’s U.S. and Canada network.
“We chose Flower Mound for our new distribution center to offer faster, efficient service to a number of national accounts, company-owned stores and independent retailers throughout the Southwest U.S.,” said Don Donatelli, PPG director of distribution and logistics, architectural coatings. “The location has excellent access to the interstate network, and the new facility will strengthen our distribution model, and we know that the efficiencies will be felt by our customers.”
Mayor Steve Dixon said with the commercial job growth local businesses will benefit.
“Opening a business produces a multiplier effect to the town, with those businesses purchasing and selling taxable goods and hiring employees who will live, shop and dine in Flower Mound,” he said.
Dixon also said more jobs and corporations will benefit taxpayers.
“Increased job growth in the town will further stabilize and diversify our economy, helping to reduce the tax burden on residents,” he said. “Flower Mound residents want excellent parks, trails, streets and well-equipped first responders. Our increased sales tax revenue has allowed Town Council to lower property taxes in recent past as well as pass the town’s first homestead exemption [this year].”