A rezoning request that will facilitate the creation of the Texas Research Quarter in Plano was brought back before council at its most recent meeting.

Plano City Council considered a rezoning request for a 200-acre life sciences development proposal that was tabled last month before the measure reappeared during the Nov. 7 meeting.

The overview

Dallas-based developer NexPoint is proposing a mixed-use project that will include several components developed across four phases.
  • 775 mid-rise apartments
  • Over 4 million square feet of laboratory, office and therapeutic production space
  • 9.5 acres of contiguous open space
  • A hotel
The rezoning request affects the former location of the Electronic Data Systems headquarters, which has a 91-acre footprint along with 109 acres of the vacant land around the building.

According to city documents, the development is planned in three phases. Director of Planning Christina Day said 7 acres of open space, a certificate of occupancy for 946,700 square feet of office within the existing EDS building and a certificate of occupancy for 375,000 square feet of manufacturing space are required prior to the construction of mid-rise units or the hotel.

“We think, bar none, this [location] is the best [for businesses] going through the incubator all the way down the process to manufacturing your products,” NexPoint President Frank Zaccanelli said. “Nobody we’ve seen across the country has a location that can do that.”

What they’re saying

“The idea of converting this office building into a pharmaceutical research center as a reuse is a redevelopment opportunity that many cities only dream of,” Plano Director of Special Projects Peter Braster said. “The idea that we can open new lines of development within Plano and create a more sustainable use is amazing.”

“That space has been empty for far too long,” council member Julie Holmer said. “I like the idea of all the communal space that will be available, the additional business that it will give our restaurants and all the jobs it will create.”

Dig deeper

Zaccanelli said NexPoint will likely invest $1 billion to complete the first phase of redevelopment at the EDS campus. The initial phase will also likely result in the creation of about 2,000 direct jobs, he said, with about 5,000 direct jobs coming from the first two phases.

“This is a special use for a special building in a special place,” Zaccanelli said. “This is the opportunity to create special drugs and therapies that will change the world.”

Additionally, there have been initial conversations about a future research hospital, but no final decision has been made, Zaccanelli said.

The development was previously tabled during the Aug. 14, Sept. 11 and Oct. 23 meetings as the developer and city negotiated terms of the rezoning ordinance.

What else?

Zaccanelli said the plan is to use developments, such as the Texas Research Quarter, as a gateway to more life sciences campuses away from the coasts.

“We’re going to become a gateway between the coasts,” Zaccanelli said. “There are going to be robust life science centers in the middle of the country, and we think we have the best building and location.”