hen McKesson Group, Kimberly-Clark and Celanese located their Fortune 500 HQs in Irving-Las Colinas, Texas, they were planning for the long term.
It’s a concept that has attracted a plethora of life sciences, biotechnology and animal health companies to cluster in and around the region. With over 38.5 million sq. ft. of office space, over 19 million sq. ft. of Class A space and several shovel-ready sites at hand, officials in Irving-Las Colinas are looking to welcome and cater to new health innovation.
“Human pharmaceuticals and biotechnology leaders McKesson and Abbott Laboratories, and Zoetis, a leading animal health provider, call Irving-Las Colinas home,” says Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Bowman. “But it’s not just large companies — smaller organizations like MEDNA Scientific are thriving in Irving. Our evolving city and its changing skyline are due in part to the investments these and other companies in this sector are making in Irving-Las Colinas.”
Vickie Tu, founder and CEO of biotechnology company MEDNA Scientific, came to Irving in 2018, when very few life sciences companies were operating in the city.
Regardless, MEDNA Scientific had found its home.
“Irving has a convenient location being close to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and located toward the center of the United States,” says Tu. “Additionally, Irving has very reasonable business operation costs compared to cities like San Francisco and Boston.”
According to Tu, MEDNA’s original 180,000-sq.-ft. facility in Irving didn’t receive any local incentives. She says that experienced entrepreneurs will find biotech businesses are growing here, in part to Irving-Las Colinas’ business-friendly environment and great resources.
It’s also the reason the company’s growth is on the uptick. In 2022, MEDNA moved to a new 200,000-sq.-ft. site within Irving, just five minutes from the DFW airport.
“MEDNA moved to a large manufacturing facility last year and we’re very happy with its convenient location, great size and the support received from the city,” says Tu. “I am very positive about MEDNA’s growth potential, as we anticipate more hiring and rapid growth capabilities in 2023 and beyond.”
Additional space at the new facility will support R&D and manufacturing of the company’s information technology and automation systems for the biopharmaceutical industry. The site will contain the company’s warehousing, office space, laboratories and a conference center. MEDNA technologies support all site operations while showcasing its AI and automation products in action, including security robots which the company hopes to integrate into the DFW Airport.
“Our city offers life sciences companies the conditions and infrastructure to succeed, and workers the conditions to thrive,” says Bowman. “We attribute the success of these companies to our talent pool, location, real estate, and business-friendly regulatory and tax environment, a winning combination only Irving-Las Colinas can offer.”
“From startups to well-known names, Irving-Las Colinas would be glad to welcome more life sciences companies home to Irving.”
— Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth A. Bowman
Advancing an Ecosystem
As a state, Texas has risen as a leader within the life sciences industry. Dallas-Fort Worth is just one of the state’s larger metros that caters to a burgeoning life sciences market. For businesses looking at the region, Irving-Las Colinas’ central location just outside of the Dallas metro has brought in leading companies like Zoetis, Abbott Laboratories and Progressive Laboratories among other life science businesses looking to develop innovative products.
In doing so, these biotech and life science giants have drawn top talent to the region. Of the 248,970 active workers in Irving-Las Colinas, 16,000 work in the city’s biotechnology industry. Representing the highest concentration of workers across all of the city’s industries, 13% of workers fall within professional, scientific and technology services, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
To continue the development of the city and region’s life sciences sector, the Chamber is working with local high schools, institutions, other area chambers and organizations in North Texas to provide STEM education opportunities to strengthen the next generation of workers. Key players in the city include Irving’s Independent School District and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who have partnered on a biomedical science program that resulted in 2,500 participants.
10-Minute City Outside the Hustle and Bustle
Irving-Las Colinas has the luxury of being located within the ever-growing Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, ranked No. 1 among South Central metro areas for the second year in a row in Site Selection’s March 2023 Top Metros rankings by number of corporate facility investment projects.
As one of the most sought-after suburbs in the region, home to 10 Fortune 500 companies, the city still possesses a 10-minute lifestyle. A 6 a.m. flight can afford one last snooze button push, as the city is located within 10 miles of both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport.
Niche’s Best Places to Live 2022 rankings put Irving in the top 50 out of 228 U.S. cities for: most diverse (12th); best city to buy a house (33rd); best city to live (40th); best city to raise a family (40th); best city for young professionals (48th); and best public schools (50th).
Irving-Las Colinas is home to over 254,000 residents, according to 2022 U.S. Census estimates. Young professionals are finding themselves in an urban setting boasting a median age of 32, yet outside the hustle and bustle of Dallas.
“This way of life helps companies in Irving-Las Colinas move beyond the standard benefits and offer employees, particularly younger team members who prioritize work-life balance, an array of amenities all within easy reach,” say Bowman.
This Investment Profile was written under the auspices of the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit irvingchamber.com.
Alexis Elmore joined Conway Data in 2022 as associate editor for Site Selection. A 2021 graduate of the University of Georgia, she studied journalism and communications before moving back to Atlanta to pursue her career. As an editor for Site Selection and contributor to Conway's Custom Content guides, she writes about economic development efforts and corporate growth happening around the globe.