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CITY OF IRVING, TX

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TIP Strategies would like to thank the many individuals who contributed to the creation of the Irving Economic Development Strategic Plan. Dozens of business and community leaders participated in this project and contributed to our understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Irving. We are especially grateful to the leadership and staff of the City of Irving for their valuable support and guidance throughout the planning process. We also want to thank partner organizations who generously gave their time and input, particularly the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Las Colinas Association. CITY OF IRVING MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL Beth Van Duyne Mayor (at-large) Dennis Webb Mayor Pro Tem, Place 3

John C. Danish Place 1 Phil Riddle Place 4

Allan E. Meagher Place 2 (at-large) Oscar Ward Place 5

Brad M. LaMorgese Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Place 6

Kyle Taylor Place 7

Wm. David Palmer Place 8 (at-large)

Michael Morrison Deputy City Manager Doug Janeway Chief Development Officer

Ryan Adams Assistant to the City Manager Maura Gast, FCDME Executive Director, Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau

Don Williams Vice President of Economic Development & Operations, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Joey Grisham Director of Business Recruitment, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

CITY OF IRVING STAFF Chris Hillman City Manager Scott Connell Director of Economic Development

IRVING PROJECT TEAM PARTNERS Beth Bowman President & CEO, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Joe Chapa Executive Director, Irving Sister Cities / International Trade & Development Assistance Center, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

TIP STRATEGIES CONSULTING TEAM Jon Roberts Managing Principal

John Karras Senior Consultant

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

CONTENTS Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................. 1 The Framework ...................................................................................................................................................... 1 The Approach ......................................................................................................................................................... 1 SWOT Analysis ...................................................................................................................................................... 2 The Opportunity...................................................................................................................................................... 3 The Challenge ........................................................................................................................................................ 3 Strategic Plan ............................................................................................................................................................. 4 Vision ...................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Priority Initiatives .................................................................................................................................................... 4 Initiative 1. International Business Development ................................................................................................ 5 Initiative 2. Entrepreneurship & Innovation ......................................................................................................... 9 Initiative 3. Higher Education Research & Development .................................................................................. 12 Initiative 4. Business Retention & Expansion .................................................................................................... 13 Initiative 5. Domestic Business Recruitment ..................................................................................................... 16 Initiative 6. Economic Development Tools & Resources .................................................................................. 18 Initiative 7. Events & Conferences .................................................................................................................... 22 Initiative 8. Community Brand & Image ............................................................................................................. 24 Organizational Framework ................................................................................................................................... 26 Irving Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) ................................................................................. 26 Performance Metrics ............................................................................................................................................ 27 Appendix A: Support Structures ............................................................................................................................... 30 Support Structure 1: Sites & Infrastructure .......................................................................................................... 31 Support Structure 2: Talent & Workforce Development ....................................................................................... 33 Support Structure 3: Quality of Place & Amenities .............................................................................................. 35 Appendix B: Peer Organizational Comparison ......................................................................................................... 39 Appendix C: Incentive Program Evaluation .............................................................................................................. 43 Incentive Recommendations for Irving .............................................................................................................. 43 Local Incentives Use ......................................................................................................................................... 45 Best Practices ................................................................................................................................................... 47 Appendix D: SWOT & Economic Assessment ......................................................................................................... 50 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................... 50 Key Findings ...................................................................................................................................................... 51 SWOT Analysis ................................................................................................................................................. 54 Economic Assessment ......................................................................................................................................... 57 Location Advantages ......................................................................................................................................... 57 Economic Trends .............................................................................................................................................. 60 Commuting Patterns .......................................................................................................................................... 66 Industry Analysis ............................................................................................................................................... 70 Workforce and Occupational Analysis .............................................................................................................. 74 Benchmark Comparisons ..................................................................................................................................... 78 Appendix E: Target Industry Analysis ....................................................................................................................... 85 Recommended Target Industries for Irving .......................................................................................................... 86 Quantitative Analysis ............................................................................................................................................ 86 Qualitative Analysis .............................................................................................................................................. 89

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Strategic Considerations ...................................................................................................................................... 89 Target Industry Recommendations ...................................................................................................................... 90 Corporate Headquarters .................................................................................................................................... 90 Corporate Training ............................................................................................................................................ 91 Foreign-Based Corporations ............................................................................................................................. 91 Software & Information Technology .................................................................................................................. 92 Telecommunications ......................................................................................................................................... 92 Finance & Insurance ......................................................................................................................................... 93 Health Care Specialties & Laboratories ............................................................................................................ 93 Professional Services ........................................................................................................................................ 94 Industrial Technology ........................................................................................................................................ 95 National Associations ........................................................................................................................................ 96 Appendix F: Strategic Marketing Initiatives .............................................................................................................. 97 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................... 97 Create a unified brand and marketing strategy for the Partnership ................................... 98 Build new relationships and strengthen existing relationships with key audiences. ........ 101 Marketing Strategies Implementation Table....................................................................................................... 103 Target Industry Intelligence ................................................................................................................................ 105 Appendix G: Prioritized Site Listing ........................................................................................................................ 115 Vacant & Redevelopable Land ........................................................................................................................... 116 Vacant Commercial & Industrial Land ................................................................................................................ 117 Redevelopable Commercial & Industrial Land ................................................................................................... 118 Prioritized Site Evaluation .................................................................................................................................. 119 Former Texas Stadium Site District ................................................................................................................ 120 Irving Convention Center Station .................................................................................................................... 121 Heritage Crossing District ................................................................................................................................ 122 North Lake College Station ............................................................................................................................. 123 Irving Mall ........................................................................................................................................................ 124 Plymouth Park ................................................................................................................................................. 125 Carpenter Ranch ............................................................................................................................................. 126 Valley View ...................................................................................................................................................... 127 Appendix H: Implementation matrix........................................................................................................................ 128 Implementation Plan - Years 1-5 ..................................................................................................................... 128

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

INTRODUCTION THE FRAMEWORK Irving has achieved significant success in growing the city’s employment and tax base, thanks in large part to the community’s partnership approach to economic development. The Irving Economic Development Partnership (the Partnership) consists of the City of Irving, the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, and the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau (IICVB). This plan provides a roadmap for Irving’s economic development program over the next five years. It is organized under the framework shown to the right. The ultimate success of the recommendations will rest on the commitment of the City of Irving and the business community. The plan also calls for a revitalization of the existing Partnership, with more specific roles and responsibilities assigned to the City of Irving, the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, and the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition, a set of performance metrics is included to track progress and ensure proper accountability throughout the implementation of strategies.

THE APPROACH

STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY VISION Irving is the leading international business center in America—a destination for investment and high-wage jobs and a vibrant urban community.

PRIORITY INITIATIVES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

International Business Development Entrepreneurship & Innovation Higher Education Research & Development Business Retention & Expansion Domestic Business Recruitment Economic Development Tools & Resources Events & Conferences Community Brand & Image

SUPPORT STRUCTURES 1. 2. 3.

Sites & Infrastructure Talent & Workforce Development Quality of Place & Amenities

Over the course of several months in 2015 and 2016, the TIP Strategies consulting team worked closely with Irving’s business and community leaders to identify the community’s most promising opportunities for economic growth. The first step was to establish a common understanding of assets and challenges. This “Discovery Phase” included valuable roundtable discussions and interviews with over 150 stakeholders representing a broad cross section of Irving’s business, government, and academic leadership. During this phase, the consulting team also compiled a wide range of demographic and economic data for Irving and the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in relation to Texas and the US. The economic research also compared primary competitor cities in the metro area to gain a better understanding of how the city fares vis-à-vis its competition. The benchmark cities include: Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, and Richardson. In addition to our review of economic and demographic data, our understanding of Irving was informed by roundtable discussions and interviews with local business and community leaders, as well as our experience working with communities across the country. Based on this work, we developed an analysis of the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, commonly referred to as a SWOT analysis, which is summarized on the following page.

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

SWOT ANALYSIS STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

 Central location

 Disconnect between neighborhoods

 DFW International Airport

 Lower K-12 school rankings than peer cities

 Diverse, internationally-connected population (including the most diverse zip code in US, 75038, according to analysis from Trulia)

 No dedicated economic development fund

 Strong, diverse economic base with many corporate HQs and other corporate operations  Well-established business ties to foreign countries (India, Japan, Mexico, Finland, Saudi Arabia)  Strong industry clusters: software & IT, telecommunications, finance & insurance, professional services, health care

 Lack of “cool old buildings”, the environments typically preferred by tech firms & startups  Amenities that have not maintained their initial levels of vitality (e.g., Las Colinas canals, Heritage Crossing District, Valley Ranch, Irving Mall)  Limited availability of housing product & price points

 Robust hospitality sector (hotels, events, corporate training)  Access to a large, skilled workforce locally & regionally  Public transportation connections to the region  New lifestyle developments with amenities being built (Water Street, Irving Music Factory, Hidden Ridge)

OPPORTUNITIES

THREATS

 International business development

 Competition from other DFW Metroplex cities for business expansion & recruitment projects

 Cultivate a welcoming environment for international talent  Focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and research & development

 Perception of city as “built-out” with no development or redevelopment opportunities  Underdevelopment of amenities

 Connecting tourism & business recruitment

 Aging retail districts

 Former Texas Stadium site & surrounding district

 Perception of Irving and Las Colinas as two different cities

 Developable acreage next to DART & TRE stations  Enhance urban vitality & amenities in Heritage Crossing District, Las Colinas & other districts  Increase investment and enhance partnerships with state & regional business recruitment efforts  Leverage Irving’s status as #1 City to Start or Launch a Career (based on WalletHub’s analysis) to attract Millennials & creative workers  Capitalize on Texas Musicians Museum and Irving Music Factory as catalyst developments  Develop a greater variety of parks & trails throughout Irving for recreational uses

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

THE OPPORTUNITY The chief opportunity identified in this plan is to solidify Irving’s status as a premier location for business relocation and expansion. In fact, Irving has the opportunity to become America’s leading international business center. Irving’s successes in economic development deserve the highest praise. Irving has more Fortune 500 headquarters per 100,000 residents than any city in the US (among the 17 US cities with at least five Fortune 500 HQs) outside of Atlanta. And Irving is the only suburb on this list. This confirms the community’s role as a major economic engine within the DFW Metroplex. Thanks to the strength and diversity of the local economy, WalletHub named Irving 2015’s “#1 Best City to Start a Career” among the nation’s 150 largest cities. This rating was based on an analysis of 19 data points that looked at job growth, income growth, workforce diversity, and other factors.

FIGURE 1. US CITIES WITH AT LEAST FIVE FORTUNE 500 HEADQUARTERS City

Popula tion (2 0 1 4 )

HQ s per 1 0 0 ,0 0 0 pop.

Atlanta, GA

13

456,002

2 .8 5

Irving, TX

6

2 3 2 ,4 0 6

2 .5 8

Cincinnati, OH

7

298,165

2 .3 5

Richmond, VA

5

217,853

2 .3 0

St. Louis, MO

7

317,419

2 .2 1

Pittsburgh, PA

5

305,412

1 .6 4

Minneapolis, MN

6

407,207

1 .4 7

Omaha, N E

5

446,599

1 .1 2

Houston, TX

25

2,239,558

1 .1 2

Milwaukee, W I

5

599,642

0 .8 3

Seattle, W A

5

668,342

0 .7 5

San Francisco, CA

6

852,469

0 .7 0

Dallas, TX

9

1,281,047

0 .7 0

Charlotte, N C

5

809,958

0 .6 2

49

8,491,079

0 .5 8

5

1,436,697

0 .3 5

9

2,722,389

0 .3 3

500

3 1 8 ,8 5 7 ,0 5 6

0 .1 6

N ew York, N Y San Antonio, TX Chicago, IL

THE CHALLENGE

Fortune 5 0 0 HQ s

US

Sources: Fortune, US Census Bureau

The challenge of this plan is responding to the highly competitive environment in which Irving operates. Despite its many advantages—ranging from transportation to workforce to prime sites—the city is in a constant battle for projects within the region. The DFW Metroplex is growing much faster than its three larger peers—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—and continues to gain jobs and investment across many sectors. Irving occupies an enviable position within the Metroplex, but is flanked in every direction by well-funded and successful economic development programs. Given these realities, it is clear that a more aggressive approach to economic development is needed. For the purposes of this plan, and for the City of Irving, we define economic development as the growth of the commercial and industrial tax base (along with a shift from a dependence on residential property taxes). In addition, success is defined as an increase in higher-wage employment opportunities and the attraction of innovative individuals and capital investment.

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STRATEGIC PLAN VISION An economic development strategy must be driven by a clear vision. Meaningful vision statements are bold, provide a clear direction, and differentiate the community from its competition.

Irving is the leading international business center in America— a destination for investment and high-wage jobs and a vibrant urban community.

PRIORITY INITIATIVES Priority initiatives form the foundation of the strategic plan and are necessary to focus the City’s efforts on outcomes that will build Irving’s long-term economic prosperity. The following eight initiatives make up the framework for the strategic plan. Specific strategies and actions follow. INITIATIVE 1. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Attract investment from foreign businesses, help local firms gain entry into foreign markets, and create a welcoming environment for the international community. INITIATIVE 2. ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION: Create a dynamic local environment for entrepreneurship, innovation, and research & development activities. INITIATIVE 3. HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: Establish centers of excellence in Irving through higher education and industry partnerships. Link these to entrepreneurship and actively pursue new research & development opportunities. INITIATIVE 4. BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION: Reinforce and invest in Irving’s business retention & expansion (BRE) program as a cornerstone of the community’s economic development efforts. INITIATIVE 5. DOMESTIC BUSINESS RECRUITMENT: Strengthen Irving’s business recruitment program through partnerships with existing businesses and by strengthening ties with business allies for regional and state recruitment activities. INITIATIVE 6. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLS & RESOURCES: Employ more aggressive incentives to encourage job creation and investment. INITIATIVE 7. EVENTS & CONFERENCES: Support and leverage Irving’s hospitality assets and strategically enhance linkages between the City’s business recruitment program and its conference/event solicitation and promotion efforts. INITIATIVE 8. COMMUNITY BRAND & IMAGE: Enhance Irving’s image as a place that combines business growth with richer residential and entertainment opportunities.

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INITIATIVE 1. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Attract investment from foreign businesses, help local firms gain entry into foreign markets, and create a welcoming environment for the international community. International business attraction and foreign direct investment FOCUS AREAS are appealing strategies to many economic developers, in part  Relationship development through Irving’s because recruitment successes are generally high profile and existing foreign-based firms generate excitement. However, for most communities, the  New opportunities for Irving-based firms to domestic business opportunities far outweigh the potential for expand into the global marketplace international development. Most cities would be ill-advised to  A welcoming local environment for deploy substantial resources to pursue global opportunities international talent when there are more economic development possibilities in  Leverage Irving’s International Trade their own backyard. Irving is not one of those cities. With nearly Development and Assistance Center 100 foreign-based firms from more than 20 countries, Irving is well-positioned to make international business development an additional core component of its economic development program. DFW International Airport is currently in growth mode, adding nonstop flights to global business centers in multiple continents and growing its international passengers at a faster pace than the other 10 busiest international airports. Given the city’s assets (DFW International Airport, dozens of US- and foreign-based corporate offices, and a large pool of talent), Irving should promote itself as a logical choice for expansion and relocation of multinational corporations. The city’s high level of racial/ethnic diversity, including a high percentage of foreign-born residents, supports its position as a place that welcomes international residents and visitors. In fact, Trulia conducted a demographic analysis of the neighborhoods in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas in 2012 and found that Irving contained the most diverse zip code (75038) in the country.

FIGURE 2. TOP 10 AIRPORTS IN US WITH THE MOST INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS, 2014 NO.

CODE

AIRPORT

1

JFK

John F. Kennedy International (New York)

2

MIA

3

INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS (2014*)

AVG. ANNUAL % CHANGE (2010-2014)

12,438,236

4.9%

Miami International

8,801,714

4.8%

LAX

Los Angeles International

8,338,162

4.4%

4

EWR

Newark Liberty International

5,233,797

1.4%

5

ORD

Chicago O'Hare International

4,999,478

1.3%

6

ATL

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

4,788,272

4.0%

7

SFO

San Francisco International

4,565,231

4.7%

8

IAH

George Bush Intercontinental (Houston)

4,277,424

4.5%

9

IAD

Washington Dulles International

3,160,720

3.3%

10

DFW

Dallas/Fort Worth International

3,094,068

8.0%

Source: US Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

*Through Nov. 2014.

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STRATEGIES 1.1. FUNDING FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Expand the resources available to international business development for additional staffing and activities targeting Asia, Europe, Mexico, and other strategic geographies. 1.1.1.

Review the Chamber’s staff capacity to better support existing foreign companies in Irving and to establish and maintain long-term business relationships in key foreign markets through the International Trade Development and Assistance Center.

1.1.2.

Cultivate and expand relationships with Irving corporations that have an existing global presence, including foreign-based firms and domestic firms seeking larger international market opportunities.

1.1.3.

Evaluate the financial resources necessary to participate on international trade missions (inbound and outgoing) to develop more opportunities for trade and investment.

1.2. DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. Work closely with DFW International Airport to pursue international business development opportunities. 1.2.1.

1.2.2.

Leverage DFW International Airport’s new nonstop destinations in foreign countries to cultivate business relationships in other markets, including partnerships with the Chamber and DFW’s “Connecting the World” marketing initiative. Continue to work and invest in relationships with DFW International Airport, regional and state economic development efforts, and Irving business executives to set up trade missions to new nonstop destinations, beginning with visits to the most recent additions (Beijing, Abu Dhabi, Qatar).

1.3. DIVERSITY. Leverage Irving’s diverse citizenry and its global business leadership to establish the community as the premier international city in the Metroplex.

UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS GROWTH Upstate South Carolina has succeeded in international business development thanks in large part to the Upstate SC Alliance’s focus on making and leveraging connections. The region’s major expansions in recent years include BMW’s announcement (March 2014) of a $1 billion, 800-job expansion of an existing automotive plant in Greer, SC. Toray, a Tokyo-based manufacturer, also announced in February 2014 a $1 billion investment that will create 500 new jobs in Spartanburg County. The Upstate SC Alliance also maintains a close relationship with the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Together, the two organizations regularly conduct industry-specific trade missions. One of the region’s unique assets is the International Center of the Upstate. The Center provides relocation assistance, language programs, cultural exchanges, and other services to promote cross-cultural education and understanding among local and international residents of Upstate South Carolina.

1.3.1.

Work with the Irving International Trade Development and Assistance Center to test the concept of an international soft landing center for foreign-based startups.

1.3.2.

Promote the current international mix of companies already in Irving to build on existing successes and make connections that could lead to further foreign direct investment.

1.4. EXISTING BUSINESSES. Work with existing major corporations to identify specific countries to target for foreign direct investment (FDI). 1.4.1.

Build and leverage local relationships with foreign-based firms (NEC, Nokia, Siemens, Hilti, and others) to promote Irving as a destination for new investment and jobs by making connections to business leaders in foreign markets.

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1.4.2.

Strategically participate in international conferences and events, both in partnership with the Dallas Regional Chamber and TexasOne efforts and as a stand-alone Irving effort. Use these trips to make visits to specific companies based in the hosting city.

1.4.3.

Continue and expand on the international trade work being led by Irving’s International Trade Development and Assistance Center.

1.4.4.

Expand the capacity of the International Trade Development and Assistance Center to increase international business for Irving-based firms. 

Many of Irving’s existing corporations operate primarily in the US but are pursuing growth strategies centered on entering specific international markets. Michaels Stores offers a good example of this with their current global expansion plans.

The City and Chamber can help by leading trade missions that include Irving-based firms to open up business conversations in designated foreign markets.

1.5. EXPERTISE. Develop international expertise around specific industries. 1.5.1.

1.5.2.

Utilize resources such as The Economist magazine’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and its Country Reports, which provide analysis of political and economic trends for nearly 200 countries, including a two-year forecast. Begin with Irving’s strongest sectors (telecom, finance & insurance, professional services, oil & gas, health care) and make connections with foreign-based firms within these sectors.

METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER: GLOBAL COMMERCE COUNCIL Through its Global Business Growth team, the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) offers industry expertise and site selection services—including analyzing available incentives, matching companies with needed professional services, and identifying research and academic resources—to international companies looking to expand in metro Atlanta. One key to the program’s success is the Global Commerce Council. Comprised of 300 members representing some of the region’s largest employers, including Delta Air Lines and Georgia-Pacific, the council meets every other month and hosts highprofile events throughout the year. Council members make connections locally and globally in support of three objectives: 

Attracting foreign investment and jobs into metro Atlanta

Helping Atlanta-area companies expand their business abroad

Helping newly landed foreign companies continue to grow in Atlanta

Council members are surveyed to capture as much detail as possible about their areas of expertise and other information, including languages spoken within the company. This information is entered into a secure database which allows MAC to quickly provide a foreign company looking to invest in the region with industry-specific contacts.

1.6. INTERNATIONAL TALENT. Establish Irving as the premier city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area for international talent. 1.6.1.

Create an ongoing dialogue to enhance the multicultural environment in Irving through conversations between local and regional organizations representing diverse communities.

1.6.2.

Continue to build stronger linkages between the Partnership and other organizations (e.g., Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the US-India Chamber of Commerce, the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and others) to make connections for global business activities in trade and foreign direct investment.

1.6.3.

Cultivate relationships with national/international organizations with headquarters in Irving (e.g., Young Presidents Organization, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Electronic Security

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Association, American College of Emergency Physicians) to assist with international business connections. 1.6.4.

Utilize the EB-5 visa program as a way to attract foreign talent and investment into Irving.

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INITIATIVE 2. ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION Create a dynamic local environment for entrepreneurship, innovation, and research & development activities. Not every community can rightfully claim to be a hub of innovation, yet every community competes for innovative firms and creative individuals. Irving has an established track record, especially with large corporations focused on developing new technologies (e.g., Verizon, AT&T, Microsoft, NEC, Frontier Communications, Sprint-Nextel, Nokia). The city should continue its efforts to support these corporations and attract additional large, technology companies. Another area of opportunity is the expansion and recruitment of young, highgrowth firms.

FOCUS AREAS 

Heritage Crossing Innovation District

5G mobile technology

Innovation events at Irving Convention Center, such as a 5G mobile technology summit Encourage innovation within existing firms

 

Use the City of Irving as a policy driver to support entrepreneurship

STRATEGIES 2.1. HERITAGE CROSSING INNOVATION DISTRICT. Create an “Innovation District” in Irving’s Heritage Crossing District. 2.1.1.

Prioritize public policies (e.g., zoning and land use regulations) and infrastructure investments that make the Heritage Crossing Innovation District more attractive to entrepreneurs and startups.

2.1.2.

Designate the Heritage Crossing Innovation District as the first “fiberhood” in the Metroplex, with access to ultra-high-speed internet as a way to attract technology startups and entrepreneurs. (See KC Startup Village example on the following page).

2.1.3.

Create marketing efforts that target specific types of businesses to expand and relocate into this district.

2.1.4.

Work with the local real estate community to establish an Innovation Center that includes coworking space for entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers in this district.

2.2. 5G MOBILE TECHNOLOGY. Establish Irving as the top location in the US for 5G innovation. 2.2.1.

2.2.2.

2.2.3.

The City, Chamber, and ICVB should work with the major telecom companies in Irving (AT&T, Nokia, Sprint-Nextel, Verizon, Frontier Communications) and in the surrounding region (Samsung Telecommunications America, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson) to pursue a “Global 5G Innovation Conference” in Irving, held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. 

Move quickly to build this event because similar events are already taking place.

The “5G Forum USA” conference was held in April 2015 in Palo Alto, CA and the “5G World Summit” was held in June 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Position Irving as the 5G Innovation Zone or Corridor. 

This should be a standalone Irving effort (not in partnership with other Metroplex cities), but should include other major telecommunications companies in the Metroplex.

Attract investment in deployed 5G technology as a national test location.

In partnership with Verizon’s Hidden Ridge development adjacent to the DART Orange Line, launch the nation’s first 5G TOD (transit-oriented development).

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2.3. PUBLIC POLICIES. Encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation through public policies and programs. A recent study, City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (available at www.citie.org), provides useful examples of how city leaders are developing policies to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship. 2.3.1.

Sponsor events relevant to startups and highgrowth sectors at the Innovation Center.

2.3.2.

Support access to high-speed internet throughout the community.

2.3.3.

Promote entrepreneurship by serving as a “connector” between local entrepreneurs and the necessary resources they seek (e.g., talent, capital, networks).

2.3.4.

Encourage Irving ISD and other local K-12 educational institutions to incorporate entrepreneurship into their academic curricula.

2.4. HIGH-GROWTH FIRMS. Target high-growth firms (with expansion plans) from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, other large Texas metro areas (Austin, Houston, San Antonio), and other major US markets (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles). 2.4.1.

Utilize the following resources to identify innovative high-growth firms within industries that are a natural fit for Irving:

KC STARTUP VILLAGE When Google Fiber was first introduced in Kansas City in 2012, service was originally offered exclusively in residential areas. To extend highspeed, low-cost internet access to the city’s growing community of startups, a handful of entrepreneurs purchased homes in the Spring Valley neighborhood, the country’s first-ever Google “fiberhood.” Ultimately labeled the Kansas City Startup Village (#KCSV), this grass-roots initiative has grown to include 25 companies located in roughly a dozen houses, including two highly visible properties: Homes for Hackers and the Brad Feld Fiber House. Along with the unique access to gigabit internet speeds, a dense community of like-minded entrepreneurs, and the opportunity for serendipitous “collisions,” KCSV promotes the city’s affordable cost of living to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to set up shop in Kansas City. While KCSV is completely entrepreneur-led, its creation coincided with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5” initiative, which originated from a months-long visioning process started in July 2011. The initiative focuses local talent and resources on five community-based projects, including making Kansas City “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City.” In addition to KC Startup Village, Kansas City is home to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, as well as a number of incubators, accelerators, and other entrepreneurship-focused initiatives.

Inc. 5000 (Fastest-Growing Private US Companies)

Fast Company Magazine (World’s Most Innovative Companies)

Forbes (World’s Most Innovative Companies)

PWC Moneytree report (for identifying recent recipients of venture funding)

MIT Technology Review (Smartest Companies)

Thomson Reuters (Top 100 Global Innovators)

2.5. SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT. Link small business growth to the city’s existing large corporations. 2.5.1.

Create a central database for RFPs from large Irving corporations seeking subcontracting or vendor services.

2.5.2.

Make the database available to all companies in Irving, providing opportunities for young and emerging companies. 

Expand the Chamber’s “Business Connection” program for this purpose.

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2.5.3.

Irving small businesses could become “prequalified” to serve as a vendor to large corporations.

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INITIATIVE 3. HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT Establish centers of excellence in Irving through higher education and industry partnerships. Link these to entrepreneurship and actively pursue new research & development opportunities. Centers of excellence are typically collaborations between FOCUS AREAS higher education institutions and businesses, leveraging the  Center of excellence focused on target unique assets found within a community to support the industry advancement of research or training within a specific industry  Expand higher education research & or focus area. They often serve as a magnet for industry innovation expertise and are dedicated to the success of companies  Connect Irving firms to regional higher within a community. They also provide leadership, best education assets practices, research, support/training for entrepreneurs and current/future employees within one or more industries. Irving has a unique opportunity to create a higher education and industry collaboration. This is possible thanks to its role as a major business and innovation center within the Metroplex and its proximity to local and regional higher education institutions, including the University of Dallas and North Lake College. Successful centers of excellence will build on the city’s higher education and industry strengths to establish Irving as a regional and national hub for talent, innovation, and business growth within a set of specialized industry niches.

STRATEGIES 3.1. CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE. Establish a task force of local and regional academic and business leaders to explore the potential to create centers of excellence. 3.1.1.

3.1.2.

3.1.3.

Centers should be led by a consortium of colleges and universities involving the University of Dallas, North Lake College, other Metroplex higher education institutions, and potentially other state or national institutions. Centers should involve multiple Irving businesses and other Metroplex businesses, focused on industry clusters in which Irving has a competitive advantage and in which innovation is a key factor for business success. The task force should consider the following potential focus areas for centers: 

5G mobile technology

Private sector cyber security

Corporate training methods & software

Smart Cities infrastructure

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIC PLAN

CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE Centers of Excellence are defined by three key ingredients: 1. A consortium among multiple higher education institutions and/or research organizations 2. Partnerships between higher education and industry 3. A focus on a specific industry, a single research topic, or a particular training program Examples of successful centers of excellence include:  The UT Center for Identity in Austin, TX 

The Research Triangle Materials Research Science and Engineering Center in Durham, NC

The Cyber Center of Excellence in San Diego, CA

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INITIATIVE 4. BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION Reinforce and invest in Irving’s business retention & expansion (BRE) program as a cornerstone of the community’s economic development efforts. Irving is fortunate to have such an impressive roster of existing FOCUS AREAS businesses, large and small, representing many different  Establish formal industry cluster working industries. Because of the city’s strong base of existing groups for key sectors employers, the greatest opportunities for new job growth and  Expand business visitation program capital investment will come from a robust business retention and expansion (BRE) program. Without a strong foundation  Strengthen engagement of local corporate executives that properly engages and supports the city’s current businesses, other approaches aimed at bringing in new companies, investment, and talent cannot succeed. Irving’s current economic development program needs to be broadened with more activities, involvement, and measurable outcomes. Additionally, an active BRE program protects against company exits to competitor cities in the region.

STRATEGIES 4.1. INDUSTRY CLUSTER WORKING GROUPS. Work through the Chamber’s HR Advisory Council to establish formal industry cluster working groups for these target sectors: technology (telecommunications, software, industrial technology/advanced manufacturing) corporate operations & related services (corporate HQs, corporate training, professional services), and health care. 4.1.1.

Hold regular meetings to provide forums for communication, relationship building, and information gathering.

4.1.2.

Identify cross-cutting issues that affect the sector.

4.1.3.

Craft solutions, monitor the issues, and track progress towards addressing these issues.

BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION A strong business retention and expansion program (BRE) is crucial to the success of an economic development organization. The US Small Business Administration estimates that roughly 60% of new jobs in a community are created through the expansion of existing businesses. For Irving, as elsewhere, existing businesses are the engine of the economy and its most valuable asset. A solid BRE program also supplements recruitment, not only because of job creation, but because it is difficult to recruit a new company if existing business are not thriving, especially if they have issues with the business climate.

4.2. EXISTING BUSINESS DATABASE. Maintain and grow Irving’s database of existing businesses. 4.2.1.

The database should be evaluated and expanded on a regular basis with a focus on companies that serve external markets or are suppliers to Irving’s primary employers.

4.3. BUSINESS VISITATION PROGRAM. Strengthen Irving’s business visitation program by expanding outreach efforts with C-level executives. 4.3.1.

Ensure that staff resources are available to meet regularly with Irving’s large employers.

4.3.2.

Prioritize business visits by employer size, employer growth rates, target industries, and lease terminations.

4.3.3.

Structure the visits to gauge the abilities and needs of local businesses in order to operate successfully and to expand in Irving.

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4.3.4.

Structure BRE visits to serve several purposes:

EXISTING BUSINESS CONSORTIUM: BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS ALLIANCE

Educate the company about the Partnership and its services;

Collect answers to a standard series of questions in order to quantify challenges the company is facing;

Identify opportunities to aid local businesses that are facing challenges, thereby retaining those companies in the community;

Identify companies that are expanding operations within and outside of Irving;

Probe supplier attraction opportunities that would benefit existing companies; and

Identify companies considering relocating outside of the community.

Capture testimonies from local companies about why they have chosen Irving as their business location.

The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) was created by the successful merger of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Development Board (MDB). As part of its Regional Existing Business Consortium, the BBA leverages local and regional partners (utilities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations) to conduct site visits as part of its business retention and expansion program. The BBA trains these partners and they conduct business visitations. This allows the BBA to have a much broader reach and bigger impact than would otherwise be possible. Also, this approach helps to control the quality of site visits and to standardize the data collected. The BBA aggregates the information collected through these site visits to identify macro-trends.

4.3.5.

Develop a questionnaire to capture critical information from business executives during visits. The information captured during the visit should be routinely entered into the employer database for future reporting.

4.3.6.

Continue to engage local stakeholders (e.g., utility companies, chambers of commerce, city staff) as active partners in the BRE program, including in business visitations, to stretch the program to achieve greater results.

4.3.7.

Pursue aggressive monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for business visits in the BRE program.

4.4. BRE TOOLS. Utilize a variety of tools and methods to enhance the community’s BRE program. 4.4.1.

Employ the use of Customer Relations Management (CRM) software to better monitor business issues and concerns and to share information between Partnership organizations. There are several companies that offer CRM products tailored to economic development organizations.

4.4.2.

Continue to use the City’s annual online business survey as a means for keeping in touch with local businesses and documenting specific challenges, opportunities, and/or expansion plans.

4.4.3.

Include questions on the City survey for employers regarding their attitude toward the business climate, talent availability, and workforce quality in Irving.

4.4.4.

Utilize local experts to assist businesses in areas such as funding, international trade, lean manufacturing, succession planning, and sales and marketing.

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4.5. CEO ENGAGEMENT. Restructure the Chamber’s existing business executive engagement (including “CEO Breakfast” events) and the Mayor’s CEO Advisory Council to address the initiatives of this plan. 4.5.1.

Encourage business leaders to interact with local partners on economic development strategy, small business assistance, talent management, and education. Informal roundtables stimulate topics of discussion that a survey or questionnaire cannot.

4.5.2.

Cultivate relationships with CEOs of local firms that are based outside of Irving to create an open channel of communication, including annual visits to out-of-market corporate headquarters.

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INITIATIVE 5. DOMESTIC BUSINESS RECRUITMENT Strengthen Irving’s business recruitment program through partnerships with existing businesses and by strengthening ties with business allies for regional and state recruitment activities. A major opportunity for Irving will come from a strong and FOCUS AREAS aggressive national recruitment program that brings new jobs and investment into the city. The Greater Irving-Las Colinas  Relationships with business decision makers Chamber of Commerce is Irving’s lead economic development  Leverage existing businesses for recruitment partner in charge of recruiting new businesses. Local and  Work closely with regional & state partners regional economies cannot thrive without bringing in new  New marketing materials & activities focused companies, investment, and talent. A focused approach to on target industries recruit companies with site selection requirements that are compatible with Irving’s infrastructure and resources can yield immediate positive results for the community. This is especially important given the high level of business expansion and relocation activity taking place across the Metroplex.

STRATEGIES 5.1. RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT. Cultivate relationships and networks with business decision makers for the recruitment of new jobs and investment into Irving, IRVING RANKED #1 CITY TO START focusing on target industries. YOUR CAREER (WALLETHUB) 5.1.1.

Respond to all business recruitment/expansion prospect leads within 24 hours, using a co-signed (by the Chamber and the City) letter of interest to leads.

5.1.2.

Expand Irving’s database of real estate developers, commercial and industrial brokers, and site consultants.

5.1.3.

Conduct at least four recruiting trips/marketing missions per year (once each quarter) to meet with company executives in out-of-state markets with a high concentration of firms in target industry clusters. 

5.1.4.

Irving was rated the number one city to “Start a Career” in a comparison by WalletHub of the 150 largest US cities in their 2015 “Best and Worst Cities to Start a Career”. The ranking uses 19 data points organized into two scales: “Professional Opportunities” and “Quality of Life”, with Professional Opportunities receiving double weight. In the more important of the two scales, Professional Opportunities, Irving ranked number one (the city ranked number 38 in the Quality of Life scale), thanks to its high marks in the following data points:  Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 inhabitants  Monthly median starting salary (adjusted for cost of living)

These trips should focus on regions where HQ offices of major corporations with a significant Irving presence are located.

 Annual job growth rate (adjusted for population growth)

Expand partnerships for these trips with TexasOne, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and DFW International Airport.

 Workforce diversity

 Median income growth rate  Economic mobility  Unemployment rate  WalletHub “Entrepreneurial Activity” ranking

Host a familiarization (“fam”) tour in Irving that brings in corporate real estate executives, site location consultants, and commercial and industrial brokers to showcase Irving as a viable option for new investment and business expansion.

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5.1.5.

Focus the fam tour on a specific business opportunity, such as redevelopment of the former Texas Stadium site or another potential TOD property.

As part of the fam tour, include a mix of Metroplex and out-of-state real estate professionals/executives.

Continue to conduct regional “road shows” to commercial real estate and development firms in the Metroplex.

5.2. EXISTING BUSINESSES. Regularly engage Irving’s existing employers to identify opportunities for the recruitment of new companies into the community. 5.2.1.

Strengthen the Chamber’s efforts to engage business executives (e.g., Technology Leadership Council) by bringing together a small group of 8 to 12 executives to discuss emerging trends that could lead to new opportunities for business attraction within the city’s target industries.

5.2.2.

Work closely with Irving’s existing employers to identify opportunities for the recruitment of suppliers or service providers who could benefit existing employers if they were also located in Irving.

5.3. PARTNERS. Continue to build strong relationships and leverage partnerships with regional and state business recruitment efforts. 5.3.1.

Maintain an active presence at regional business recruitment efforts with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce and its DFW Marketing Team.

5.3.2.

Continue the Chamber’s participation in state-wide business attraction initiatives through Team Texas, TexasOne and the Governor’s Office.

5.4. MARKETING MATERIALS. Create new marketing materials for the Partnership specific to Irving’s strongest assets for the growth and expansion of firms in target industries. 5.4.1.

Create high-quality, flexible (online and print) marketing packages that tell the story of why Irving is the right location for businesses within each target industry.

5.4.2.

Each marketing package should be simple, yet powerful, and be unique to each target industry. The package should contain the following: 

A map and detailed listing of existing firms located in Irving within the industry.

A similar map and listing of Irving firms in related support industries.

A snapshot of local/regional workforce strengths within the sector, highlighting key occupations.

Unique programs, infrastructure, innovation assets, and applicable local or state incentives.

Testimonials from local executives and firms that have relocated to Irving.

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INITIATIVE 6. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLS & RESOURCES Employ more aggressive incentives to encourage job creation and investment. The tools required to be competitive operate within an organizational framework. An effective community brings together all of the players in economic development. While the implementation of this plan rests with the City of Irving, it requires close collaboration with the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau, and other partners (the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Dallas County Utility and Reclamation District, the Las Colinas Association, Irving ISD, Coppell ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, the University of Dallas, and North Lake College, among others).

FOCUS AREAS 

Re-energize the Irving Economic Development Partnership

Create a new funding source for incentives

Enhance Irving’s incentives aimed at business expansion & recruitment

Recalibrate incentive policies to accelerate revitalization in target geographies

Build a robust research program to support economic development activities

The ambitious new initiatives, programs, and priorities highlighted in this plan will require a revitalization of Irving’s Economic Development Partnership (IEDP), including a long-term investment commitment. This structure will remain a community partnership, with investors from the public and private sector, but with greater accountability and stronger representation by the City of Irving. This will support the city’s mission to provide exceptional services to compete with other Metroplex cities for new jobs and capital investment. This plan may require the creation of new funding sources for economic development and a recalibration of Irving’s incentive policies. Most of Irving’s standard incentives, such as tax abatements and TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zones) are comparable to other Metroplex cities, but there is one major difference between Irving and its competitor communities. The lack of structured annual contributions to the dedicated fund for economic development incentives puts Irving at a significant disadvantage for attracting new jobs and investment. A large number of Metroplex cities have a Type 4A and/or Type 4B sales tax that provides a large source of annual funds for economic development. Irving does not have this option because it contributes a full one-cent of its sales tax to the DART system. This challenge is counter-balanced by the city’s high quality transit access to the rest of the region—the DART light rail Orange Line to DFW International Airport and downtown Dallas and the TRE commuter rail line to downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth. As corporate relocations/expansions continue to prefer mixed-use, transit-adjacent locations, this will serve Irving well over the long run. Fortunately, there are other options to level the playing field between DART and non-DART cities. The City of Irving also should annually reinvest in the incentive fund to better compete for investment with other Metroplex communities.

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STRATEGIES 6.1. IRVING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP. Clarify and formalize the roles and responsibilities of economic development partners. 6.1.1.

Work with each of Irving’s economic development partners (City of Irving, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau) to ensure that processes are streamlined, transparent, well documented, and well understood. A more detailed overview of this recommendation is included in the plan’s Organizational Framework section.

6.1.2.

Create a unified brand for use in all economic development marketing materials that is representative of the Partnership and its partner organizations.

6.1.3.

Encourage firms receiving public incentives to become investors in the Partnership.

6.2. FUNDING FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPERATIONS. Re-energize the Irving Economic Development Partnership with expanded funding, in concert with the Chamber’s forthcoming capital campaign. The Opportunity Austin capital campaign—a partnership of the City of Austin and the Austin Chamber of Commerce—is a successful approach to regional economic development (shown in the sidebar to the right). OneRedmond is successful in the suburban area of greater Redmond, Washington, within the context of the larger Seattle region. 6.2.1.

Annually benchmark the level of funding and resources for the Partnership against communities in the Metroplex that regularly compete with Irving for new jobs and capital investment.

6.2.2.

Explore the potential for generating a higher level of private sector support for the Partnership through a capital campaign. Coordinate the funding streams for economic development, with public and private dollars, to ensure Irving’s long-term competitiveness.

6.2.3.

Evaluate resources needed for staff to support the high levels of economic development prospects, and the anticipated future high workload resulting from an expanded program.

OPPORTUNITY AUSTIN: CAPITAL CAMPAIGN Opportunity Austin was launched by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2004 as a five-year economic development initiative aimed at fostering job-creating investment in the five-county Austin metro area. This regional strategy aimed to create 72,000 regional jobs and increase regional payroll by $2.9 billion. To implement the strategy, the regional business community committed to invest $14.4 million. From 2004 through the end of 2012, an estimated 190,900 new jobs were added to Austin's regional economy. Regional payroll increased by $9.9 billion during this period, along with increases in per capita income and average annual wages. In December 2012, Opportunity Austin 3.0 was launched, with a set of new initiatives focused on improving the region’s Economy, Talent, and Place. Top priorities include boosting economic diversification to strengthen the economy, deepening the talent pool through development and attraction, and keeping the Greater Austin region attractive to entrepreneurs, business leaders and site selectors through expanded advocacy on issues such as a comprehensive regional transportation system and regional collaboration.

6.3. INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESS RECRUITMENT & EXPANSION. Establish a set of public incentive policies and programs directly aimed at growing and recruiting firms in Irving’s target industries, and attracting quality jobs for Irving residents. 6.3.1.

Evaluate options for building the economic development incentive fund.

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6.3.2.

Review the City’s incentives relative to the target industries and the City’s performance metrics.

6.3.3.

Establish minimum thresholds for both wages and capital investment. Provide incentives for projects that create jobs with wages that pay a determined percentage (such as 25 percent) above the industry median wage and/or above Irving’s overall median wages.

6.3.4.

Create an anchor employer program that incentivizes Irving’s existing businesses if they play a significant role in helping recruit a key supplier, service provider, or customer business into the city (similar to the State of Rhode Island program).

6.3.5.

Specify target industries (using NAICS codes) that are eligible to receive certain incentives (similar to Arlington).

6.3.6.

Specify the levels of capital investment necessary for firms to receive incentives.

6.3.7.

Maintain mandatory annual “certificates of compliance” for any businesses receiving incentives to ensure that they meet or exceed the job creation and capital investment requirements. These should be in effect for the duration of the incentives term (i.e., each year of a 5-year or 10-year tax abatement).

6.3.8.

Continue using software programs to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of providing incentives. These tools are used to gain a comprehensive understanding of the costs and benefits of a business expansion or investment.

6.3.9.

Encourage businesses to hire locally as part of Irving’s incentive package. 

While not a formal requirement, preference should be given to companies who make a demonstrable effort to employ Irving residents.

Work with local organizations (e.g., the Chamber, Irving ISD, North Lake College) to expand the pool of candidates for jobs at new or expanded Irving facilities.

6.4. INCENTIVES FOR REVITALIZATION. Enhance the community’s incentives aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods and commercial corridors in strategic development areas. 6.4.1.

Review the Neighborhood Housing Incentive Program to consider extending it beyond the initial set of neighborhoods. Include South Irving neighborhoods, especially the Heritage Crossing District, to spur new investment.

6.4.2.

Expand the geographic reach of the Corridor Enhancement Incentive Program to cover all prioritized sites.

6.4.3.

Revise the Small Business Expansion Incentive Program to encourage the recruitment of small businesses from outside of Irving, especially in prioritized sites like the Heritage Crossing District.

6.4.4.

Explore the feasibility of establishing TIRZ districts for each of the city’s prioritized sites, wherever they are not already in place.

6.4.5.

Create a new retail sales tax rebate for materials purchased locally for use in approved revitalization projects.

6.5. RESEARCH CAPACITY. Enhance data collection and analysis for the community’s economic development activities. The intersection of real estate, demographics, industry trends, and international development requires a deeper understanding of how these relate to opportunities in Irving.

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6.5.1.

Advance skills of research staff to develop a deep knowledge of various business aspects of Irving.

6.5.2.

City of Irving research staff should use a data-driven approach to support the Chamber’s business retention, expansion, and recruitment efforts.

6.5.3.

Maintain local data not tracked by paid subscription services.

6.5.4.

Create and regularly maintain an online dashboard with local real estate, demographic, and economic data. The Region 2000 Local Economy Dashboard for the Lynchburg, Virginia metro area is a good example of an online dashboard (www.region2000dashboard.org).

6.5.5.

Establish the Partnership as the “go to” place for any data on Irving.

6.5.6.

Publish relevant reports on Partnership organization websites.

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INITIATIVE 7. EVENTS & CONFERENCES Support and leverage Irving’s hospitality assets and strategically enhance linkages between the City’s business recruitment program and its conference/event solicitation and promotion efforts. Many communities have weak ties between their economic FOCUS AREAS development program and their convention & visitors bureau.  Expand linkages between ICVB & Chamber to This can lead to missed opportunities for connecting the leverage hospitality sector for business hospitality sector to broader economic development outcomes, recruitment such as business recruitment and talent attraction. Irving is  Leverage Irving Convention Center fortunate to have a uniquely strong alliance between its  New festivals/events in Heritage Crossing tourism/event promotion efforts and its traditional economic District development activities. The Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau is an important partner and should continue to play a key role in the community’s economic development program. Moreover, Irving has significant advantages it can capitalize on to grow its hospitality industry and to leverage this sector for business recruitment including the Irving Convention Center, access to DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field, and the large number of corporate training facilities located in the city.

STRATEGIES 7.1. IRVING CONVENTION CENTER. Work with the ICVB to expand on the economic development potential of the Irving Convention Center. 7.1.1.

Continue to work with the ICVB to attract a new convention center hotel adjacent to the Irving Convention Center.

7.1.2.

Support improvements to the physical connectivity and pedestrian infrastructure between the Irving Convention Center, the nearby DART Orange Line station, and surrounding developments in Las Colinas.

7.2. FESTIVALS IN IRVING. Leverage the city’s funding for promotion of its Heritage Crossing District and festivals and events in the area to introduce a higher level of interest and vibrancy in the city’s historical core. 7.2.1.

For this strategy to be successful, the city would need to allow temporary beer and wine sales in city parks and streets during festivals.

7.2.2.

Work with the Texas Musicians Museum and other key stakeholders to identify and pursue opportunities for distinctive new festivals and events in the Heritage Crossing District.

7.3. TARGETED CONFERENCES & EVENTS. Create new linkages between the Chamber’s business recruitment efforts and the ICVB’s conference/event promotion activities. 7.3.1.

Support the ICVB and its Board of Directors in its work to regularly convene a group of leaders from Irving’s hospitality sector to reveal opportunities to leverage the community’s visitor services industry (hotels, restaurants, and other businesses) to support the City and Chamber’s economic development programs.

7.3.2.

Identify industry associations within each target industry and encourage them to consider Irving as a destination for annual events and meetings.

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7.3.3.

Target new events/conferences at the Irving Convention Center and Irving’s hotels that bring in key business decision makers from target industries.

7.3.4.

Work closely with the ICVB to identify trade shows and conferences held at the Irving Convention Center and at Irving’s hotels to determine which ones represent the best opportunity for business recruitment and marketing activities. Attend relevant trade shows and have a booth to distribute marketing material to attendees.

7.3.5.

Support the ICVB and the Chamber in their efforts to grow Irving’s corporate training sector by attracting meetings and other engagements of existing businesses.

7.3.6.

Use high profile events in Irving and the region as a way to cultivate relationships with business decision makers in the Metroplex and outside markets.

7.4. RESEARCH. Utilize the new City of Irving research director position to support the ICVB’s visitor attraction efforts. 7.4.1.

Support the ICVB in its ongoing efforts to determine the economic impacts of Irving’s hospitality sector and showcase the industry’s value to the local economy.

7.4.2.

Work with the ICVB to put in place a data-driven system that evaluates the business recruitment potential of each major conference and trade show.

7.5. INCENTIVES. Structure local incentive policies to support the community’s hospitality sector. 7.5.1.

Add guidelines for businesses receiving incentives to use “commercially reasonable efforts” to place all company-managed hotel room nights related to the company’s business activities at hotels located in the City of Irving.

7.5.2.

Expand the current ICVB Business Development Incentive Plan to include specific incentives for target industry events/conferences.

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INITIATIVE 8. COMMUNITY BRAND & IMAGE Enhance Irving’s image as a place that combines business growth with richer residential and entertainment opportunities. In addition to business recruitment and expansion efforts, the FOCUS AREAS City of Irving and its partners should take steps to enhance the  Engage young professionals community’s image as a great place for businesses and residents. Engaging existing young professionals that live or  Manage Irving’s online & social media image work in Irving is a natural starting point, especially since the  Create a network of “connectors” to share city has a much higher percentage of young adults age 20 to positive stories about Irving 34 than the rest of the Metroplex (27 percent in Irving compared with 22 percent in the Metroplex as a whole). Gaining a better understanding of the desires and needs of local residents, especially young and mobile professionals, will be critical for the community’s success in promoting itself as a top destination for new jobs, investment, and talent. Other key demographic groups, such as empty nesters, should also be engaged by the city and its partners. To help support business development activities, the city should monitor and, where appropriate, influence Irving’s online and social media image.

STRATEGIES 8.1. ENGAGE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS. Regularly engage the many young professionals and other young adults living in Irving to gain a better understanding of the desires and needs of this key segment of the workforce. 8.1.1.

Work with the Chamber and young professionals groups existing in many of Irving’s large companies to design a survey to gauge the quality of life amenities in Irving.

8.1.2.

This can help the city understand which amenities are most critical for the attraction and retention of young, talented workers.

8.2. ONLINE & SOCIAL MEDIA. Use social media and technology solutions to manage and positively influence Irving’s online and social media image.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS COUNCIL: DIGITAL AMBASSADORS INITIATIVE The Northwest Arkansas Council created the Digital Ambassadors initiative as a way to improve the region’s image and to disseminate information about the region in a cost-effective way. The program currently boasts more than 400 individual Digital Ambassadors. Each Digital Ambassador receives emails with new, exciting content to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The content includes information about regional job growth, quality of life amenities, educational achievements, the local economy, and other ways the metro area stands out. Digital Ambassadors are encouraged to share the content so that they can have a positive impact on how the outside world views Northwest Arkansas. The ambassadors earn points based on how often they’re active and how they share their messages, and top participants are eligible to win monthly prizes. The program is a good avenue for enhancing the internal image of Northwest Arkansas. It also helps local residents and businesspeople become more aware of the positive aspects of living and working in Northwest Arkansas.

8.2.1.

Actively manage Irving’s page on Wikipedia to ensure its accuracy and to maintain its emphasis on the city’s positive elements.

8.2.2.

Ensure that the information being communicated about Irving through online and social media channels is positive, consistent, and accurate. This includes any information shared through regional media outlets.

8.3. AMBASSADORS & CONNECTORS. Work with the Chamber and ICVB to create an Irving Digital Ambassadors Program that utilizes a network of “connectors” who share positive stories about Irving online

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and through social media. Social Toaster (www.socialtoaster.com) provides a platform for structuring and managing such a program. 8.3.1.

Identify who the connectors and thought leaders in Irving are, and encourage them to be digital ambassadors for the city. Identify leading individuals within key stakeholder groups (e.g., young professionals, empty nesters) to serve in an ambassador/connector capacity.

8.3.2.

Develop content that portrays a positive image of the local business climate and highlights opportunities for business and talent to be successful in the community.

8.3.3.

Create an incentive system that rewards digital ambassadors for actively participating.

8.3.4.

Promote the program across the City, Chamber, and ICVB’s local existing communications channels, including traditional and social media.

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ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK The ambitious new initiatives, programs, and priorities highlighted in this plan will require an enhanced commitment from the public and private sectors. Irving should consider the need for additional staff and funding with more aggressive participation in economic development by the private sector. The City of Irving and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce are important leaders for economic development in the community. The success of this strategic plan relies on cooperation among the members of the Irving Economic Development Partnership (IEDP), which consists of the City of Irving, the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Las Colinas Association. However, the City of Irving has the primary role of implementing the initiatives in the strategic plan with the support from the Irving Economic Development Partnership, specifically the contractual relationship with the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. The City of Irving should build on the existing public-private partnership structure with the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce that manages the Irving Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) on behalf of the Irving Economic Development Partnership. This is accomplished in collaboration with industry leaders advancing, creating and promoting economic development in Irving.

IRVING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL (EDAC) The EDAC will be responsible for: 

Monitoring the implementation of the strategic plan;

Advising the Irving Economic Development Partnership (IEDP), specifically the City of Irving and Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce staff regarding strategic actions, financing/budgets, and program goals;

Assisting with economic development efforts; and

Providing long-term guidance on business industry issues.

The EDAC will review programs and initiatives with staff and will make recommendations to the Irving Mayor and City Council as well as the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The EDAC is managed by the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Irving Economic Development Department. EDAC membership should be limited to organizations, businesses and individuals with a vested interest in supporting economic growth in Irving. The EDAC will serve as a resource for cross sector industry feedback related to economic development trends, Irving-Las Colinas needs or opportunities, and a source for information such as emerging industries. The following is a suggested list of organizations that should be considered to serve on the EDAC: 

Board member representative from the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Board member representative from the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau

Board member representative from the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Board member representative from the Las Colinas Association (LCA)

Board member representative from Dallas County Utility Reclamation District (DCURD)

Leader from an Irving-based higher education institution

Board member from City of Irving Tax Increment Finance District #1 and/or #6

Member of South Irving Task Force

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

Board member representative of the Valley Ranch Association

Fortune 1,000 HQ executive from an Irving-based firm

Executive from a foreign-based corporation with a major Irving presence

Executive from a Fortune 500 company based outside of Irving, but with a major Irving presence

Executive from a real estate development firm or commercial real estate brokerage with market knowledge of Irving and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Technology entrepreneur or executive of a high-growth tech firm with an Irving presence

Business executive at-large representing one of Irving’s target industry clusters

PERFORMANCE METRICS Continuous performance evaluation will be an essential part of the Irving Economic Development Partnership’s (IEDP) work plan. The organization will track as many quantifiable activities and results as possible with the goal of transparency and clear communication to the organization’s investors and the community at large. This tracking will be done to demonstrate what the organization is doing and the impact that its work is having on the community. The IEDP’s objectives in reporting results are twofold: 1) present organizational accomplishments in an easily understood format; and 2) educate investors and the community about the process of economic development. Results will be reported on a quarterly basis. The Partnership’s metrics will be broken down into the following three categories: 

Inputs. These measure resources dedicated to implementing the strategic plan.

Outputs. These measure the volume of work completed and specific activities of the Partnership.

Outcomes. These measure the results and benefits of the work completed to influence specific business decisions to locate or expand in Irving. Outcome results will be reported over a multi-year time frame since individual business retention, expansion, and recruitment decisions often take more than one calendar year.

Input metrics to be tracked include: 

Development of target industry information, as well as detailed economic and demographic data for Irving

Expanded target industry databases

Creation of marketing materials to promote the business case for Irving and the services of the Partnership

Development of the website to provide valuable information and assistance to site selectors and company decision makers

Collaboration with economic development partners in the region and state, building on the Partnership’s role of providing client-based economic development services to businesses seeking new or expanded operations

Execution of strategies to sustain and expand funding for the Partnership’s programs over the next three to five years targeting new private sector investors

Output metrics to be tracked include: 

Businesses visited/surveyed as part of the BRE program

The identification and pursuit of business retention, expansion, or recruitment leads

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

Facilitation of media placements regarding Irving as an exceptional place for business

Target industry trade shows attendance

Meetings with companies that have operations outside of the region and promoting the community as an exceptional place for business

Meetings with national site consultants and senior-level commercial real estate brokers

Execution of business assistance research requests

Meetings with local businesses, focusing on Irving’s target industry clusters

Attendance of networking events and speeches made to target audiences in the region and state

Outcome metrics to be tracked include: 

New job creation

New capital investment

Average wages of new jobs created

Local tax base growth

Vacancy rates and rental rates for existing commercial office and industrial space

Amount of new commercial office and industrial space constructed

The adoption of target performance measures, especially under the outcome metrics category, will need to balance two competing interests: 1) generating excitement from the Irving City Council, local residents, and potential investors in the IEDP by setting ambitious targets for new job creation and investment; and 2) providing realistic expectations and aiming for achievable targets. To address these two interests, we recommend setting ambitious goals for specific numbers of new jobs, capital investment, and average wages, while also setting benchmark goals for Irving to outperform the DFW Metroplex, Texas, and national economies in terms of job creation, capital investment, and wage growth. This will help to protect Irving from unexpected downturns in the state or national economy that could limit the potential for economic growth locally. It is difficult to directly connect the success of any economic development strategic plan to local-level macroeconomic statistics (e.g., median household income); however, tracking some economic indicators on a continual basis will help provide a general understanding of Irving’s relative economic health. TIP recommends the Partnership use the following metrics and data sources to measure program effectiveness and economic growth in the city. Wherever possible, each of these indicators should be tracked for Irving, the DFW Metroplex, Texas, and the US.

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CITY OF IRVING, TX

CATEGORY

METRIC

DATA SOURCE

Increase in the number of jobs created/retained Increase in the average wages of jobs created/retained Growth of private capital investment

Texas Workforce Commission; business interviews; surveys; and media reports Texas Workforce Commission; business interviews, surveys, and media reports Business interviews, surveys, and media reports Texas Workforce Commission (Labor Market and Career Information) U.S. Small Business Administration (www.SBIR.gov) Dallas Central Appraisal District Texas Comptroller’s Office Regional commercial real estate brokerage (e.g., CBRE, CoStar) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages) Business interviews, surveys, media reports Business interviews, surveys, media reports

Growth of private non-farm employment SBIR/STTR awards BUSINESS VITALITY & INNOVATION

QUALITY OF PLACE

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Growth of private commercial tax base Taxable retail sales growth Amount of new office space (square feet) added to local market Private business establishment growth Number of new businesses formed Number and dollar value of venture capital and angel investment deals Amount of new industrial space (square feet) added to local market Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon winners Increase in population age 25+ with a bachelor’s degree or higher Increase in percent of the population age 2034 Increase in number of students enrolled at University of Dallas and North Lake College Percentage of employed residents working from home Increase in median household income Hotel occupancy, average daily rate, and revenue per available room Performance of local K-12 school districts Restaurant sales tax collections, including mixed beverages, beer, and wine Irving Arts Center attendance Texas Musicians Museum attendance Irving Music Factory attendance Annual and monthly international air travel passengers at DFW International Airport Change in percentage of foreign-born residents Increase in the number of foreign-based firms with a local presence Increase in exports for locally-based firms Increase in foreign direct investment

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIC PLAN

Regional commercial real estate brokerage (e.g., CB Richard Ellis) U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (1-year estimates) U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (1-year estimates) National Center for Education Statistics U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (1-year estimates) U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (1-year estimates) Smith Travel Research, Source Strategies Schooldigger.com, GreatSchools.org City of Irving City of Irving Texas Musicians Museum Irving Music Factory U.S. Department of Transportation (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (1-year estimates) Business interviews, surveys, media reports Business interviews, surveys, media reports Business interviews, surveys, media reports

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City of Irving Economic Development Strategic Plan  

Irving is the leading international business center in America — a destination for investment and high-wage jobs and a vibrant urban communi...

City of Irving Economic Development Strategic Plan  

Irving is the leading international business center in America — a destination for investment and high-wage jobs and a vibrant urban communi...