Business Facilities: Dallas has one of the fastest-growing data center sectors in the nation. What makes Dallas the right place to build a new data center?
Courtney Pogue: Dallas is one of the most centrally located and globally connected major business centers in the U.S. Due to its Central Time Zone, Dallas is a near-perfect geographic region for information technology hosting and data center operations; attractive for data centers that service major companies and HQs. Additionally, as a major internet peering point, with concentrated fiber offering great speed, total bandwidth, reliability ensures redundancy; approximately 75 network providers operate in the Dallas area, including more than 40 fiber providers for business services. The Dallas area is home to the largest tech workforce in Texas and fourth largest in the country. We’re building the Dallas tech/STEM talent pipeline with DISD’s innovative P-TECH program (Pathways in Technology Early College High School); which helps students can earn industry certificates for their selected career pathway.
BF: What makes Dallas an attractive destination for foreign direct investment?
CP: Mayor Eric Johnson has just formed the Mayor’s International Advisory Council to help solidify the city’s position as a major player in the FDI arena. Dallas’ central location is an excellent position for foreign companies doing business throughout North, Central, and South America. Dallas’ regional economy is the 2nd most diverse economy in the U.S. Dallas’ stable economy and superb credit ratings are extremely attractive to foreign investors. Dallas strength over the past few years has centered is centered on its unprecedented job growth, population growth and our ability to attract a significant number of corporate relocations. As the 5th most popular metro for FDI in 2019 with $1.9 billion of investment, the Dallas area is well positioned to remain in the top five.
BF: What were the key factors that led Uber to put its new U.S. General and Administrative Hub in Dallas? Do you anticipate that Uber’s decision will attract other high-tech players to the city?
CP: Uber’s decision to locate in Dallas was based on several factors. Dallas’ large talent pool especially its tech worker talent pool. Dallas is home of the largest tech workforce in Texas. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company recognized that Dallas had become a “hub of innovation” for Uber’s platform. Uber’s preferred to be located in a city and neighborhood where it can benefit from a truly 24-hour live / work / play environment, which it found in Deep Ellum at the Epic site. Dallas was the first city in Texas in which Uber launched its ride-sharing services here in 2012.
As a result of Uber’s choice of Dallas, an increased tech talent pool and access to one of the world’s most innovative companies will make Dallas an even more attractive option for other companies looking to expand/relocate.
BF: Dallas is a national leader among cities that are generating electricity from renewables. Is the availability of renewable energy a top priority for site selectors?
CP: Since 2015, the City of Dallas has been purchasing enough renewable energy credits from wind power to cover 100 percent of the electricity used by City facilities. Because of Texas’ deregulated energy markets (and because the City doesn’t run a municipal power company) local businesses have the ability to choose from any energy provider they desire. Statewide, more than 25 percent of generating capacity is from solar or wind energy New projects coming on-line to support capacity in wind, solar or natural gas, so the use of renewable and cleaner energy is only expected to grow.
BF: Does your strategic development plan target emerging high-tech growth sectors like cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems?
CP: The plan calls for the City of Dallas Economic Development to focus on core industries such as life sciences and healthcare, business services, national and international corporate headquarters projects, logistics, food processing, digital arts and innovation, and advanced manufacturing. As part of the focus on the telecommunications and informational technology sector, cyber and data security along with artificial intelligence will be part of our business expansion, attraction, expansion, and retention (BEAR) efforts.
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