Smart Growth Illustrated
Legacy Town Center, Plano, Texas
The Legacy Town Center is the first place in the country to create mixed-use infill by building a town center in an existing office park. Electronic Data Systems (EDS) sought to attract employees by creating a town center near the office where they can live, shop, eat, relax, and run errands during lunch. These new-economy employees work around the clock and appreciate the convenience of the town center. Hewlett Packard's telecommunications business unit chose Legacy Town Center for its new headquarters because its location and design are convenient for employees while still making good business sense.
Mixing uses at Legacy Town Center also makes good environmental sense. Most workers not only drive to and from work every day but also use their cars at lunch. A study done prior to the completion of the town center showed that half the workers in Legacy would leave the office park at lunch to run errands, driving between two and five miles. National studies show that people who work in locations that provide a wide range of services within walking distance of the office are more likely to consider car pooling, van pooling, and mass transit1. The mixed-use town center will let workers choose how they get to work and how they run errands, reducing congestion and pollution during the morning, lunch, and evening rush hours.
With developers Post Properties and Amicus Partners building apartments, Karahan Companies building retail and Leddy Company building a hotel, EDS has integrated a mix of housing, retail, office, restaurants, lodging, and entertainment on 150 acres, all within a ten-minute walk of one another. As in a traditional town center, the buildings are built near the street with sidewalks in front and parking around the side and back. This design encourages office workers and residents to walk to daily errands and restaurants while allowing vistors to park once and enjoy the entire area on foot.
The mixed-use apartment buildings offer an alternative to the single-family homes and garden apartments that are the typical housing styles in Plano. The residents of the 2,700 apartments will create a lively, 24-hour atmosphere of business and entrtainment. In addition to the urban amenities, the residents will also have five acres of public parks and a four-acre lake to enjoy. New town houses are also being considered as part of the downtown area, which would further expand housing choices. When the town center was under construction, EDS kept several bison and long-horn cattle on the remaining open space in the business park, which gave the residents a home where the buffalo roam.
1 Cambridge Systematics. 1994. ; The Effects of Land Use and Travel Demand Strategies on Commuting Behavior. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration