With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout reaching an unprecedented milestone of 118 million administered doses since January, Allen officials are planning for an imminent, post-pandemic economic expansion.
“Obviously, the pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us,” said Allen Economic Development Corporation CEO Dan Bowman. “I think, right now, you have a lot of companies that are waiting for that vaccine rollout hopefully moving into the summer, but you’re already seeing a clamoring of companies [wanting] to get back into the office in a safe way.”
To accommodate this influx, Allen EDC is looking to accommodate the continually burgeoning technology sector with an office and mixed-use development dubbed the Allen Tech Hub, a proposed Watters Creek District complex with 105,000-square-feet and four stories of office space slated for construction next week.
This development complements that of the recently constructed, neighboring complex One Bethany West, an eight-story studio office development that will act as an anticipated counterpart to other pending office developments, One Bethany North and One Bethany Central.
Bowman said that while plans for One Bethany North and One Bethany Central are currently being made, no estimated timeframe of completion can be made at this time. Still, with One Bethany West already having reached over 50% occupancy and counting, he contended that the complex in its current incarnation is a promising litmus test.
“What you see is that the market is really believing companies will be coming back to work, and you certainly see it right now across the board,” Bowman said. “You’re just seeing, in general, cautious optimism when it comes to this economy recovery.”
This optimism extends itself to other pending developments that venture in the culinary, nightlife and entertainment spaces, including the 2.67-acre project The Hub, a 121 Corridor endeavor, which will provide restaurant space along an outdoor stage and lawn. This project is part of an even larger development called The Farm, which will also include space for offices, residential units, retailers and parks.
“The developer has closed his financing for all [The Farm’s] infrastructure,” Bowman said, adding that the infrastructure’s value is estimated to exceed $20 million. “The latest news is that [the developer] closed on that construction loan and is breaking ground on that construction imminently.”
Between this and other 121 Corridor developments, Bowman said this area will act as the “final frontier” for Allen’s economic growth.
“Up and down the corridor, we’re really looking at unique opportunities to bring things to Allen that maybe the other developments that are already here don’t have,” he added. “Allen will continue to have that unique, home-town feel that has been driven by the fact that we have our roots of this smaller community that we’ve grown into this larger, more mature community … I think you’ll continue to see that in the character of Allen even as it grows out on 121.”