Plano, TX Real Estate
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Plano (/ˈpleɪnoʊ/ PLAY-noh) is a city in Collin County and Denton County, Texas. It had a population of 285,494 at the 2020 census. It is a principal city of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
Indigenous peoples around Collin County and North Texas included the Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Delaware, Kickapoo, and Tonkawa. European settlers came to the area near present-day Plano in the early 1840s. Facilities such as a sawmill, a gristmill, and a store soon brought more people to the area. A mail service was established, and after rejecting several names for the nascent town (including naming it in honor of then-President Millard Fillmore), residents suggested the name Plano (from the Spanish word for “flat”) in reference to the local terrain, unvaried and devoid of any trees. The post office accepted the name.
In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Central Texas Railway helped Plano grow, and it was incorporated in 1873. By 1874, the population was over 500. In 1881, a fire raged through the business district, destroying most of the buildings. Plano was rebuilt and business again flourished through the 1880s. Also in 1881, the city assumed responsibility for what would eventually become Plano Independent School District (PISD), ending the days of it being served only by private schools.
At first, Plano’s population grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900 and 3,695 in 1960. By 1970, Plano began to feel some of the boom its neighbors had experienced after World War II. A series of public works projects and a change in taxes that removed the farming community from the town helped increase the population. In 1970, the population reached 17,872, and by 1980, it had exploded to 72,000. Sewers, schools, and street development kept pace with this massive increase, largely because of Plano’s flat topography, grid layout, and planning initiatives.
During the 1980s, many large corporations, including J. C. Penney and Frito-Lay, moved their headquarters to Plano, spurring further growth. By 1990, the population reached 128,713, dwarfing the county seat, McKinney. In 1994, Plano was recognized as an All-America City. By 2000, the population grew to 222,030, making it one of Dallas’s largest suburbs. Plano is surrounded by other municipalities and so cannot expand in area, and there is little undeveloped land within the city limits. But as of July 2012, one large tract of land was being developed: Turnpike Commons at the intersection of Renner Road and the George Bush Turnpike (also bordered by Shiloh Road to the east). The development is expected to feature apartments, medical facilities, restaurants, a Race Trac gas station, and a hotel.
On June 15, 2015, after five years of disuse, a 178-foot water tower built in 1985 was demolished to make room for Legacy West.
About 80% of Plano’s visitors are business travelers, due to its close proximity to Dallas and the many corporations headquartered in Plano. The city also has a convention center owned and operated by the city. Plano has made a concerted effort to draw retail to its downtown area and the Legacy West in an effort to boost sales tax returns. It has two malls, The Shops at Willow Bend and The Shops at Legacy. Collin Creek Mall closed in 2019. There is an area that has apartments, shops, and restaurants constructed with the New Urbanism philosophy. An experimental luxury Walmart Supercenter is at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway.
Headquarters of major corporations
Some of the country’s largest and most recognized companies are headquartered in Plano. Legacy Drive in ZIP Code 75024, between Preston Road and Dallas North Tollway, has many corporate campuses. The following companies have corporate headquarters (Fortune 1000 headquarters) or major regional offices in Plano:
- At Home
- Beal Bank
- Cookies by Design
- Cinemark Theatres
- Denbury Inc.
- Diodes Incorporated
- FedEx Office
- Fogo de Chão
- Hilti North America
- Huawei Device USA
- Main Event Entertainment
- NTT Data Services
- Pizza Hut
- Ribbon Communications
- Robot Entertainment
- Siemens Digital Industries Software
- Toyota Motor North America
- Tyler Technologies
- Zoës Kitchen
In 2014 Toyota Motor North America announced its U.S. headquarters would move from Torrance, California, to Plano. In 2015, Liberty Mutual announced its plans to build a new corporate campus just a few blocks east of Toyota’s, bringing an estimated 5,000 jobs to the community. In January 2016, JP Morgan Chase and mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced they would move their regional operations to Plano, bringing a combined 7,000 new jobs to the community.
The Plano Public Library System (PPLS) consists of the W.O. Haggard, Jr. Library, the Maribelle M. Davis Library, the Gladys Harrington Library, the Christopher A. Parr Library, the L.E.R. Schimelpfenig Library, and the Municipal Reference Library. The Haggard Library houses the system’s administrative offices.
The Plano Symphony Orchestra is partially funded by the city, performing regularly at St. Andrew United Methodist Church and the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in nearby Richardson.
- Plano Station, Texas Electric Railway (1908)
- Heritage Farmstead Museum (1891)
Although Plano is named for the flat plains of the area, large trees abound in the city’s many parks. One such tree, estimated to be over 200 years old, is in Bob Woodruff Park, near Rowlett Creek on the city’s east side.
There are two main open space preserves: Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (200 acres) which contains a pond in honor of Vasil Levski and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve (800 acres). Bob Woodruff Park and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve are connected by biking trails, making the green space one large uninterrupted park space larger than New York City’s Central Park (840 acres). Go Ape, a family-friendly place with outdoor activities like ziplining and Tarzan swings, is at Oak Point Park and Preserve. The Plano Balloon Festival, which happens every September, also takes place at Oak Point Park and Preserve. Another open space is Haggard Park, which hosts the annual Plano AsiaFest in May. Acreage of all spaces the Parks Department manages totals 3,830.81. The Plano Master Plan has the acreage growing to 4,092.63 when complete.
There are five recreation centers: Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center, Carpenter Park Recreation Center, Oak Point Recreation Center, Liberty Recreation Center, and Douglass Community Center. Carpenter Park Recreation Center, Oak Point Recreation Center, and Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center have an indoor pool, while Liberty Recreation Center has an outdoor pool. Plano Senior Recreation Center is a recreation center dedicated to seniors. There are three swimming pools owned by Plano Parks & Recreation: Harry Rowlinson Community Natatorium, Jack Carter Pool, and Plano Aquatic Center. All the pools are indoor except Jack Carter Pool. Douglass Community Center houses the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County. For pet owners, there are The Dog Park at Jack Carter Park, The Dog Park at Bob Woodruff, and Dog Park at Windhaven Meadows Park.
The City of Plano also owns and operates four performing arts venues and a conference center under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation Department: the Courtyard Theater, the Cox Playhouse, the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park, McCall Plaza, and the Oak Point Park Nature and Retreat Center.
Plano has 70 public schools, 16 private schools, and two campuses of the Collin County Community College District (Collin College).
Primary and secondary schools
The Plano Independent School District serves most of the city. Student enrollment has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Plano has a unique high school system, in which grades 9–10 attend a high school and grades 11–12 attend a senior high. There are three senior high schools (grades 11–12) in PISD: Plano East, Plano, and Plano West. Small portions of Plano are served by the Lewisville Independent School District, Frisco Independent School District, and Allen Independent School District.
Plano schools graduate more of their students than comparable districts. In 2010, 93% of Plano Independent Student District students graduated from high school, 18 percentage points higher than Dallas ISD’s rate. In 2012, Plano Independent School District announced that 128 seniors were selected as National Merit Semifinalists.
Plano has given $1.2 billion in property tax revenue to other school districts through Texas’s “Robin Hood” law, which requires school districts designated as affluent to give a percentage of their property tax revenue to other districts outside the county. In 2008, PISD gave $86 million. Controversy erupted when the salaries of teachers in less affluent districts—such as Garland ISD—exceeded the salaries of teachers in districts that had to pay into “Robin Hood”.
In the 2013–14 school year, Plano ISD opened two four-year high school academies, one focusing on STEAM (STEM education plus Media Arts) called Plano ISD Academy High School, and the other on health science. Additionally, the district modified its International Baccalaureate program to allow freshmen and sophomores in the program to be housed at Plano East Senior High School.
In addition to Catholic primary and middle schools, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas operates John Paul II High School in Plano. Non-Catholic private schools in Plano include Great Lakes Academy, Spring Creek Academy, Yorktown Education, and Prestonwood Christian Academy. In addition, the Collin County campus of Coram Deo Academy is in the One Church (previously Four Corners Church) facility in Plano.
Colleges and universities
Plano is the home to two campuses of Collin College, one at the Courtyard Center on Preston Park Boulevard and the larger Spring Creek Campus on Spring Creek Parkway at Jupiter. DBU North, a satellite campus of Dallas Baptist University, is in west Plano, and offers undergraduate and graduate courses and houses the admissions and academic counseling offices.
As defined by the Texas Legislature, all of Collin County is in the Collin College district. The portion of Plano within Denton County is zoned to North Central Texas College.
Plano is one of 12 suburbs of Dallas that opt into the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) public transportation system. During its early membership in DART, Plano was lightly served by bus lines, but in 2002, the Red Line of the DART Light Rail project opened stations in Downtown Plano and at Parker Road, which provide access to commuters traveling to work elsewhere in the Dallas area. The Orange Line traverses the same route for selected weekday/peak hour trips. The Silver Line is also planned to run through Southern Plano. Approximately 1% of the city’s population uses DART. The Parker Road station charged for parking for non-member city residents from April 2, 2012, to April 3, 2014, as a part of the Fair Share Parking initiative. Two DART park-and-ride bus facilities, separate from the rail lines, are in Plano: Jack Hatchell Transit Center and Northwest Plano Park & Ride.
Plano was the first city in Collin County to adopt a master plan for its road system. The use of multi-lane, divided highways for all major roads allows for higher speed limits, generally 40 mph (64 km/h), but sometimes up to 55 mph (89 km/h) on the northern section of Preston Road. Plano is served directly by several major roadways and freeways. Central Plano is bordered to the east by U.S. Highway 75, the west by Dallas North Tollway, the south by President George Bush Turnpike (Texas State Highway 190 (east of Coit Road)), and the north by Sam Rayburn Tollway (Texas State Highway 121). Preston Road (Texas State Highway 289) is a major thoroughfare that runs through the city. Plano is Texas’s largest city without an interstate highway.
Plano opened a new interchange at Parker Rd. and U.S. 75 in December 2010. The single-point interchange is the first of its kind in Texas. The design is intended to reduce severe congestion at this interchange. According to reports, traffic congestion has been reduced by 50-75%.
Plano is roughly 30 miles northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the primary airport serving Plano residents and visitors.
The Plano Fire-Rescue has 386 full-time firefighters who operate out of 13 stations.
The Plano Police Department is an accredited agency and Plano’s principal law enforcement agency. The department is led by Chief Ed Drain. The department has authorized staff of 414 sworn officers, 178 full-time civilian employees, and 79 civilian part-time employees. It is a member of the North Texas Crime Commission and uses the Crime Stoppers program.
Plano is part of the North Texas Municipal Water District, headquartered in Wylie, Texas. Lake Lavon is the district’s principal source of raw water. Plano’s water distribution system includes:
- 10 elevated towers
- 12 ground storage tanks
- 54.5 million-gallon water storage capacity
- 5 pump stations
- 225 million-gallon daily pumping capacity
- 1,080 miles of water mains
- 65,965 metered service connections
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