From its humble beginnings as a small farming community, Plano Texas has emerged as an impactful urban center reaching a population of just over 250,000 in 2007 and being named the Most Affluent City in America. Plano is a major employment center with more than 100,000 locally based jobs. Its diverse economy includes international and national corporate headquarters, high-tech manufacturing, warehouse and distribution centers, hospitals and over 14 million square feet of retailing. Plano’s renaissance has been stimulated by its community leaders (and businesses alike) dedication to sustainable development along side the accessibility and of light rail transit service.
During the 1980s, downtown Plano changed from a traditional business center to a specialty retail district composed of antique stores and gift and clothing boutiques. Unlike mainstream retailers, these locally owned boutique businesses benefited from the historical setting and were able to adapt their merchandizing and operations to the small footprint and other peculiarities of downtown’s older commercial buildings. In the spring and summer of 1991, a sub-committee of the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission prepared a plan to guide downtown development, with the reconstruction Avenues K and L underway downtown was poised for growth. While new development was welcomed, there was concern that growth needed to be carefully directed to complement the historic downtown core. The Downtown Development Plan was approved by City Council on September 11, 1991.
In 1993, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) service plan was updated. The revised light rail transit (LRT) plan included a special events platform downtown. In theory, the platform would be used only in conjunction with festivals or other special activities. Later, DART staff concluded that the concept of occasional service was not workable and the plan was amended in 1997 designating downtown as a full-service stop. DART was eager to begin engineering of the LRT extension to Plano. Favorable tax revenues and federal funding allowed DART to expedite the project and a new target date June 2003 was set for commencing service. A Vision and Strategy for Creating a Downtown Transit Village did a tremendous job of summarizing the potential for Downtown Plano.
Since the opening of the Downtown Plano DART Station in 2003, nearly 500,000 square feet of private development has been built, adding 450 urban apartments and 40,000 square feet of non-residential development to the compact 80 acre Downtown Plano area. Historic commercial and civic buildings are being restored, including the adaptive reuse of the city’s first school gymnasium (built in 1938) as a 326-seat performing arts theater. With the addition of the $30+ million Lexington Park at Rice Field, which is presently being built by Lexington Luxury Builders, 98 for-sale luxury townhomes are being added to Downtown Plano.
In 2006 the Plano City Council approved Lexington Luxury Builders as the exclusive developer of Lexington Park at Rice Field and in June 2006 Lexington broke ground on this new urban neighborhood of luxury townhomes in Plano. As we commence 2009, Lexington is pleased to release the first luxury townhomes at Lexington Park, just as Downtown Plano is experiencing a rebirth with new restaurants, retail and office. The sky is the limit as Downtown Plano becomes a fashionable new urban destination for businesses and residences alike.