Companies Flocking to North Texas

As seen in the Dallas Morning News on March 22, 2015:

Months before Toyota announced that it was relocating its U.S. headquarters to North Texas, company executives asked the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce about critical business issues, such as air service to Japan, taxes and worker’s compensation rates.

“We have a lot of advantages,” said Dale Petroskey, president of the chamber. He and other chamber officials, working with all the communities in the region, love to point out the benefits of living here, including the exceptional business climate, big league professional sports teams, world-class arts and entertainment and recreation.

But Toyota executives, who ultimately chose to relocate in Plano, were concerned that employees, accustomed to the California lifestyle with its mountains and beaches, might find it hard to “fall in love with D-FW,” said Mike Rosa, the chamber’s senior vice president.

To help Toyota employees and other companies relocating here find the region’s romance, the chamber brings in major real estate brokerage firms to work with them on an individual basis to help select neighborhoods, pick schools and gauge commutes.

“We like to involve the large Realtor firms in the process,” Rosa said. “Robbie Briggs (CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty) may know more about specific neighborhoods than we do.”

At the chamber’s invitation, the heads of Briggs’ relocation divisions, like Ginny Taylor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, jump on buses chartered by the chamber for relocating employees to tour the city. They help the newcomers appreciate the wide range in home prices and advantages of different neighborhoods available to them in North Texas.

“The chamber has done a fantastic job attracting major new companies to North Texas. That has made our job that much more exciting as we work with homebuyers from California, Illinois, New York and from around the world,” Briggs said.

To serve these employees and take advantage of the growing communities throughout the region, Briggs Freeman, once a mostly Dallas-based firm, became part of the worldwide Sotheby’s network. That move gave it access to thousands of international buyers for its listings of high-end homes, farms and ranches.

The firm also opened offices in Southlake and more recently in Fort Worth and Frisco.

As a result of these moves, combined with the booming real estate market in North Texas, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s topped $2 billion in sales last year.

One of the area’s best attributes, Taylor said, is its southern hospitality. “Everybody we work with says to us, ‘People here are so nice.’”

Petroskey agrees and quotes Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings as saying one reason so many companies are moving here is the community’s positive attitude.

According to Rawlings, when a national Gallup poll asked the question a few years ago whether people think America’s best days are ahead or behind them, the respondents were evenly split.

But in Dallas, when the same question was asked, only 15 percent believed the best days are behind, while 65 percent said they believe they are in the future.

Petroskey said, “That positive attitude is self-perpetuating.”

Stewart Lytle ( is a freelance writer who divides his time between Dallas and Newburyport, Mass.

President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with seven offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Uptown, Lakewood, Ranch and Land, The Ballpark and Southlake

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