The IQ: Richardson Innovation District Unveils New Name and Branding

In December, the Richardson City Council approved rezoning for higher density development and a variety of uses to provide a foundation for an innovation-focused, urban mixed-use environment.

The IQ Richardson Innovation District

The 1,200-acre innovation district in Richardson has a new name and a fresh identity: The Richardson Innovation Quarter.

The new name tells a story designed to establish a location (Richardson), its purpose (Innovation), and a community (Quarter), say officials for the Collins/Arapaho Task Force. The name abbreviates into a nickname, The IQ.

The announcement—made this week by city officials, the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, and the Collins/Arapaho Task Force—comes after the Richardson City Council approved rezoning for higher density development and a variety of uses providing a foundation for an innovation-focused, urban mixed-use environment in December.

“What we’ve done is basically taken the handcuffs off of the landowners here,” Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker said at the announcement ceremony. “Through form-based zoning we allowed them to decide what the market conditions and the market opportunities are. We don’t tell them who to go recruit, we just say here are our expectations of the level of effort, quality, and the ability for us to create a place.”

Voelker says the city’s vision gives it more flexibility. 

“My view of The IQ is we’re going to take our economic development strategy as a city and literally turn it upside down,” he says. “So instead of doing a company for $400 million, [we can] spend $40 million to help 400 companies that can become that.”

“The neat thing we have here from an IQ perspective is a group of landowners and people that will allow you to start small and grow to whatever that might be that you create,” Mayor Voelker told property owners, executives, and district stakeholders at the brand unveiling.

The IQ could be a magnet for innovators

Voelker envisions The IQ as a place that will attract top talent to the city.

“The place we’ve created here is a ‘live, work, invent’ place,” Voelker says. “Whether you’re from UT Dallas, SMU, UT Arlington, UT Southwestern, when you get that wonderful Ph.D. degree and you’re thinking, ‘I created some intellectual property at that university,’ I want you to think about The IQ as the place to come, commercialize the development, build the company, and then stay here.”

Work began on the district after the city produced a vision and strategy study in 2018, laying out actions and recommendations for the area. After that, a new zoning code—a form-based zoning code for the entire district—was laid out and later converted from all industrial uses to a mix of uses, Bryan Marsh, chairman of the Collins/Arapaho Task Force, says at the announcement ceremony.

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The task force developed a process for its study before presenting a final report to City Council that defined the area of the innovation district. Marsh says the public should notice changes in the coming years, noting that the district has a long way to go, but says Tuesday’s announcement “is really like the end of the beginning.”

“This is really like the end of the beginning,” Bryan Marsh says of the Richardson district’s rezoning and the branding reveal. The process inspired “a lot of great ideas, and it’s going to help and encourage private investors in this area as well as public investment.”

Voelker says now the team is ready to spread the message about The IQ. “I need you to tell people, ‘Hey, this is the place you can come and collaborate—work, invent, and commercialize those ideas—to create true value,” he says. He also noted that the branding will encourage private investors in the area as well as public investment.

The district sits in heart of Richardson’s Telecom Corridor

Generally bounded by Central Expressway, Campbell Road, Plano Road, and Apollo Road, The IQ is in the heart of what has become known as the Telecom Corridor. One of most important tasks during planning was to come up with a brand name that would help in marketing the district. The Dodd Creative Group was hired to oversee the branding effort for the district.

Officials encouraged the crowd to grab a flag and “put yourself in the district.”

“The Chamber gave us a three-part assignment to help advance this redevelopment project, changing the message, and the logo,” Ben Rush, creative director for The Dodd Creative Group, says. “The innovation district is a place where special things happen. It boasts a rich heritage of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Rush says that Dodd Creative Group created the logo as a “suite of images.” For the district’s brand, Dodd created versions of the logo that include the full district name, in addition to versions with The IQ nickname.

The orange icon in the logo is something Rush calls “The Spark,” which is meant to represent creativity, ingenuity, inspiration. The icon isn’t restricted to a single color, but a palette of colors to “pair nicely with all the existing brands and entities already in the district.”

Rush notes that there will be “other versions that you’ll see in future materials, for special applications.”

Storytelling was an important part of the process, Rush says. The brand name and its logo is more than a label: It’s meant to capture the flavor of Richardson’s tech-savvy population and tell a story about intelligence, creativity, invention, potential, and burning the midnight oil. “It evokes Arthur Collins. But it also evokes Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison,” he says. “It celebrates all the amazing things going on right here in this neighborhood today.”

Marsh, who is also the CEO of Strategic Data Center Fund in Dallas, spent his previous years as vice president of Dallas-based data center provider Digital Realty. He agreed that new zoning in the area will create opportunities for The IQ. He told Dallas Innovates developers and others have expressed interest and are taking land positions very quietly.

“It was industrial, restrictive,” he says, referring to the recent rezoning. “Now it’s mixed-use—no limits on heights, reduced parking ratios, reduced setbacks on buildings. You can do, live, work. There are all these different zones in the district with the water feature going through it. And there’s the DART rail station at Arapaho that can be the next Mockingbird Station or CityLine.”  

Well-known tech companies already have offices and operations within The IQ’s boundaries, including video game giant id Softare, LINTEC, Zyvex, Honeywell, Raytheon, Digital Realty, Ericsson, Verizon, Siemens, and Argo Data.

For more information about The IQ, visit its website.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.



Comeback of the Corridor: The Rousing Revival of Richardson
The telecom bust of some 20 years ago rattled Richardson. Go there now and you’ll find a city in midst of an awakening built on redevelopment, marketing, perseverance, and a revised real estate toolbox.

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