Richardson Innovation Quarter: A Technology Boom in Dallas, Texas
Dallas is one of the top 10 most innovative cities in the world, and innovation is thriving throughout the DFW metropolitan area. The Richardson Innovation Quarter, known as Richardson IQⓇ, or The IQⓇ for short, is a “living laboratory” and “amenity-rich” environment for entrepreneurs to explore new ideas backed by the support of the local Richardson community in Dallas. The innovative area was built in early 2020 as a partnership between the University of Texas at Dallas and the City of Richardson. A goal of the project is to better serve enterprise telecommunication and software companies. Richardson IQ is a mixed-use, 1,200 acre area dedicated to forward-thinking companies and entrepreneurs.
Covered in this article:
- About Richardson, Texas and the Richardson Innovation Quarter
- Introducing the Richardson Innovation Quarter
- Richardson IQ Today
- Commercial Leasing Opportunities in the Richardson Innovation Quarter
- Businesses Growing in Richardson IQ
- Vision for the Future of the Richardson Innovation Quarter
- Office Space in Richardson, TX
The IQ is in the Telecom Corridor, and home to numerous companies, including Dell Technologies, DFW Technology, Ericsson, Honeywell, Zyvex, Raytheon and more. Most recently, this amenity-rich area is advancing a redevelopment project of 14 acres of land near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Arapaho Center Station. Numerous infrastructure and development projects are planned to continue to build this already booming area north of Dallas.
Read on to learn more about the unique development and dynamics occurring throughout this area, and the compelling reasons more businesses are moving to Texas, and more specifically, moving to Dallas and the Richardson IQ.
About Richardson, Texas and the Richardson Innovation Quarter
The Richardson Innovation Quarter covers more than a thousand acres in Richardson, Texas. At the northwest corner of the land is the University of Texas at Dallas. Interstate 75 bisects the area, providing an easy trek into Dallas central, or a straight shot to Plano further north.
Richardson, Texas is located in Dallas County. It is the 30st largest city in Texas and has a population of 117,528. This population represents growth of more than 20% since the 2010 census.
54% of people in Richardson own homes, and the average household income is well above national average, at $87,720. The diversity of Richardson is similar to the rest of Dallas, with about 62.9% of the population white, 11.3% Black, 14.6% Asian, 18.2% Hispanic or Latino, and nearly 7% as other races.
Richardson is above-average in education, with 53.9% of the population holding a bachelor’s degree, and 91.9% having a high school graduate degree. The median age in Richardson is about 35 years old, and the city is home to numerous award-winning schools, young families, and young professionals.
Introducing the Richardson Innovation Quarter
Richardson IQ is set in a larger area known as the Telecom Corridor, which has been a technology business center since the late 1950s. Collins Radio, an electronics company, relocated to this area north of Dallas and first constructed a multi-building campus in what would later be the Telecom Corridor. Due to its widespread impact during the Information Age, Collins Radio established a culture of welcome for tech-based enterprises, and soon Micrografx, Atlas, Convex Computers, and similar companies were headquartered in Richardson.
Since recovering from the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, businesses in Richardson have continued to develop the 6.5 mile strip of land along US 75, which is now home to 1,000 businesses and 19,000 workers.
Richardson IQ Today
For the past 25 years, Richardson IQ has diversified its technological presence, growing beyond telecommunications into many sectors. There are more than 600 technology companies within Richardson IQ alone, and the area features a central Data Center. Two key dynamics contributed to the diversity and growth in this area:
- Development was tied to the light rail station, making the area easily navigable from all directions.
- Richardson is in a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which has facilitated development and redevelopment, using future tax revenues to pay for public improvements.
In 2018, a visioning study was conducted that identified several major strategies for future growth in this area, which typify the ethos of the region:
- Better manage people’s experiences in the district through tactics like conceptual wayfinding/street wayfinding and streamlining building identities.
- Supporting modernization by waiving fees for development and permitting, and developing facade improvements through a matching grant program.
- Allow zoning flexibility in industrial zones, changing building height limits to allow for modern, industrial buildings.
- Creating shared, innovative spaces for new businesses, a measure especially meant to support start-ups and small businesses.
Representatives from multiple arenas took part in this study, including product council, developers, realtors, property owners, and residents. The dedication to ongoing improvements is another reason businesses are moving to The IQ, and why the area continues to thrive.
In 2022, the city of Richardson recently issued an RFP seeking a developer to transform the vicinity of Arapaho Center Station. This gateway is envisioned to become a central landmark of The IQ.
“This mixed-use development will draw start-ups as well as ‘scale-ups’ due to its centralized location, access to transit and ability to attract and retain a highly educated workforce.”
Maureen Kelly Cooper, Cushman & Wakefield
Commercial Leasing Opportunities in the Richardson Innovation Quarter
To support diverse and entrepreneurial tech-based businesses, there are numerous types of commercial leasing opportunities in Richardson IQ. These include office buildings, flexible or multipurpose buildings, industrial buildings, retail buildings, and more.
In September of 2022, the Richardson Innovation Quarter officially opened its Headquarters at 1302 E. Collins Blvd. The new headquarters opening was brought to fruition through a partnership between Richardson city and The University of Texas at Dallas. This monumental space stands as a beacon for the commercial and business growth happening in the IQ district. The headquarters, once fully complete, will include five new research centers and an extension of the IQ’s existing Venture Development Center.
Businesses Growing in Richardson IQ
This area is certainly in growth-mode, and that is due in part to the roster of successful and established businesses that already operate in it. Manufacturing and technology occupy the leaderboard, and Richardson IQ serves as a strategic location for several large tech companies, for example:
id Software — A well-known video game developer, id Software is a mid-size company owned by ZeniMax Media. Its cube-shaped office was constructed in Richardson, TX in 2011.
Zyvex — A privately held, precision manufacturing company, Zyvex Labs was founded in the late ‘90 and has been at the forefront of research for the digital revolution, specifically in nanotechnology at the atomic level, for several decades.
Raytheon — Raytheon is one of the largest aerospace companies headquartered in Richardson, TX since 2014. It employs more than 1,700 people in a modern work environment.
Digital Reality — This colocation data center added 130,000 square feet of space in Richardson in 2019, adding to its already one million square feet of data center space in the area.
Ericsson — A fully end-end operational lab for the telecommunication company focused on supporting its Global Utilities Innovation Center in Plano, Texas, where Ericsson and its partners work to solve real-world connectivity challenges.
Verizon — The Verizon corporate office in Richardson is an extension of the company’s large footprint throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. It employs 8,100 people in the area.
Siemens — Siemens has close to 1,700 employees in the Dallas area, which includes more than 100 U.S. military veterans.
Many companies are relocating to The IQ, or there is news that they may. For instance, the Texas Blockchain Council is establishing its first physical presence in the Dallas Fort Worth area with a new headquarters in Richardson.
In addition to businesses, Richardson has strong ties to institutes of higher learning, with University of Texas Dallas a co-developer, and several other regional schools nearby.
Vision for the Future of the Richardson Innovation Quarter
The vision for Richardson IQ was always a big one. In the future, the district aims to continue to expand its impact as the premier technology hub in Texas. Other stated goals, established in by the Chamber of Commerce Collins/Arapaho Tax Force, delineate a future for the area as a place that is:
- Walkable and bikeable
- Visually unique and green
- A center for innovation and entrepreneurship
- Lively and active
The vision framework specifies new, modern flex spaces for lease, affordable spaces for existing businesses, specialized spaces for emerging industries, and new amenities and things to do.
Richardson Innovation Quarter Future Outlook
Dallas’s track record as a good place for tech businesses is only growing. In 2022, the DFW metroplex, which includes Richardson and the Richardson IQ, ranked No. 3 for best places in the U.S. for technology jobs. It came in third only to its neighboring metroplex, Austin, which is further proof that Texas is diverse, and a leading state for technology and innovation.
Additionally, Dojo, a Washington based coding company, used data from the latest U.S. Census and other sources, to rank Dallas as the top city in which to start a career in technology. Richardson IQ is one of many reasons that Texas is a great place to start a tech business and build a career in technology.
*Page updated on 13 March 2023