When AT&T moved its headquarters to downtown Dallas from San Antonio in 2008, everybody knew it meant thousands of new workers in the central business district. But it would have been hard to foresee the company’s plans for its offices a decade later.
Last year, AT&T announced a $100-million, four-block development called the Discovery District. It was a welcome outcome after the telecom giant announced some 18 months previously that it was exploring a move to the suburbs. The project basically creates a public gathering place with restaurants, art exhibits, music performances, and sports-watching parties.
“We’re planning to transform the entire area around our downtown complex. AT&T Discovery District will be a first-of-its-kind ‘urban tech campus’ in downtown Dallas—a showcase for new technology and innovation,” the company said in a prepared statement. Befitting the nation’s largest wireless service provider, it will also feature public Wi-Fi access and the latest 5G wireless service.
The company has about 5,500 downtown workers. Discovery District is expected to open later this year.
AT&T’s project comes about the same time as Verizon’s 150-acre, mixed-use development around its Irving campus. Verizon, the nation’s second-largest wireless provider, teamed with big Dallas developer KDC to create the Hidden Ridge project, which has attracted the new headquarters of energy producer Pioneer Natural Resources. It’s expected to be a $1-billion project.
Verizon has held the land since before it was created from its corporate predecessor, GTE, in 1990. Close to 3,000 employees work at the Irving campus.
Like AT&T’s Dallas development, the Verizon project will feature 5G wireless connectivity. Plans include a business incubator aimed at small enterprises using 5G networking. The company wants to partner with retail and apartment developers to incorporate “smart” technologies in buildings and infrastructure.
The developers have also worked with Dallas Area Rapid Transit to put a rail station at Hidden Ridge as part of DART’s Orange Line, which runs from downtown Dallas to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
This article was originally published in the Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Review.
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