Comeback of the U.S. 75 Corridor

After the telecom implosion of the ’90s, Richardson adds to its economic toolbox to revive North Central Expressway.

By Jeff Bounds

A speculative real estate bubble is fun until it pops, just as it did nearly 20 years ago along the Telecom Corridor in Richardson.

Motorists in the early 2000s got a first-hand glimpse of the impact of telecom’s implosion in Richardson by traveling the 5.5-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 75 that runs through the city.

Traveling that stretch now is like watching a comeback by the home team, a rousing revival built on redevelopment, marketing, perseverance, and a revised real estate tool box.

Around the turn of the century, US 75/North Central Expressway through Richardson reflected a city coping with the realities of a technology industry in contraction. . . . 

To diversify Central’s real estate beyond telecom, Richardson adopted techniques such as development tied to light rail stations, tax increment finance (or TIF) districts, and an alternative to traditional zoning.

“They’ve finished the first midterm exam and received an ‘A,’” says Joseph Cahoon, director of the Folsom Institute for Real Estate at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, using a classroom analogy. “We don’t know their final grade yet. It looks positive right now, but we don’t know where the rest of the course is going to go.”

Read the full story.