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Allen Proves Resilient in Commercial Development Tech Boom During COVID-19

Nearly 70 years have passed since the town of Allen incorporated with only a few hundred people. Today, its population has soared past 100,000 and continues climbing.
One Bethany Campus Night Aerial July 2020_CourtesyOfAEDC
Courtesy of Allen EDC

Nearly 70 years have passed since the town of Allen incorporated with only a few hundred people. Today, its population has soared past 100,000 and continues climbing. The Dallas suburb generates more than $160 million in revenue and holds more than $600,000 million in total assets. 

Once allegedly known as the site of the first train robbery in Texas, Allen has since become known for luxury hotels, the Allen Event Center, and high school football dominance. Several NFL players have called Allen home, including Dan Buckner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Bobby Evans, the Los Angeles Rams; Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals; and Tony Hill, former Dallas Cowboys player and Super Bowl champion. 

Now the Allen Economic Development Corporation is hoping to add another tag on Allen’s list: the Tech Hub of North Texas. The EDC recently announced two new major developments that will bring them one step closer to the city’s goal with the Allen Tech Hub, which breaks ground next year, and the 200,000 square-foot office complex One Bethany West, which is now open. 

“The reason that we exist as an EDC is to create an environment that has jobs that your residents can fulfill,” said Dan Bowman, the executive director of Allen EDC. “... Now more and more jobs are moving here and the benefit for the residents is they got the technology being created in their own backyard. You can see that echo system and the employers and employees here in your own backyard [creates] a self perpetuating echo system [that] exports these goods [from Allen, Texas].”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen has seen more than 2 million square feet of new commercial projects move forward this summer. Allen Tech Hub, the newest project, will be a 105,000 square-foot Class A office project. It will be integrated into the Watters Creek District, a popular resort-style, mixed-use development and recently recognized as the top such district in North Texas

The Watters Creek District is within walking distance of One Bethany West and offers more than 50 restaurants and retail shops. Bowman pointed out that the district also provides an outdoor water park and a summer concert series. “This oasis in the suburbs, Watters Creek, allows tech employees the ideal urban environment where tech [they] have access to nine of the top school districts in the entire country.” 

Several tech companies have opened up headquarters in Allen, including CyrusOne, NETSCOUT Systems, and Watchguard Video. Video game makers are also beginning to follow suit with Boss Fight Entertainment, the maker of the popular Dungeon Boss game (5 million+ downloads), and Bonus XP, the makers of the highly addicting Monster Crew Game (100,000 + downloads) moving their headquarters there.  

“Allen is an amazing city and with the addition of One Bethany at Watters Creek, it is everything you could ask for in a location,” Scott Winsett, COO of Boss Fight Entertainment said in a press release. “It has great character and the proximity to restaurants and entertainment venues as well as access to great talent made it an easy choice for us to build our headquarters and establish permanent roots here.”

This oasis in the suburbs may have companies in the Silicon Valley soon following the rest of their tech colleagues and joining the thousands of people fleeing the high taxes of California for the business friendly state of Texas. 

“What you are seeing in COVID is a lot more remote work, and people want to live in communities like Allen where they have this technology history,” Bowman added.  “Engineers and software development have been moving to this area over the last couple of decades and being close to the workers (in these mixed-use developments like Watters Creek) is just becoming more important.”