Corporate Headquarters: Base Camps for Business

Corporate headquarters aren’t synonymous with cookie-cutter glass towers hidden in the middle of canyons of skyscrapers in the largest cities. More and more locations are offering what it takes to be a base camp for 21st-century business.

By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2020 Issue

A company’s location is an important part of a company’s identity and can play a role in the perception of its customers and investors. For the location that is losing a corporate headquarters, the company may have been an integral part in helping grow an emerging cluster and relocating could impact continued cluster success.

Conversely, if a company is in need of repositioning or rebranding, a corporate headquarters move could be just the thing to help the business chart a new future. Strategic issues generally are the drivers of analysis leading to relocation. Singular issues, or a combination of many, may be at play.

These could include the need to reduce short- and long-term operating costs or selling real estate assets to raise needed capital to deploy in higher priority ways or it’s a need for expansion capacity and/or the ability to enhance hiring opportunities of a changing workforce. And then there’s the “millennial”  factor: increasingly, people entering the workforce want to work where they want to live, and for a lot of millennials that’s a 24/7 location, like the ultra-hip Deep Ellum neighborhood that Uber selected for its new U.S. administrative hub (okay, technically not an HQ, but you get the point).

Locations that have been successful in attracting corporate HQ have responded to these needs. Here are two HQ magnets that have passed this test.


The full effect of the 2020 global economic shutdown will not be fully realized for some time to come, but clearly, some cities and geographic regions have a significant recovery journey with substantial restart challenges, while others are ideally positioned to resume the interrupted momentum to continue healthy economic growth and development. One such city is Irving, TX, located between Dallas and Fort Worth in the center of North Texas.

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Irving-Las Colinas Urban Center. (Photo: Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce)

Texas, and North Texas in particular, enjoyed blazing economic growth over the last decade as U.S. and foreign-based corporations relocated their regional and corporate headquarters to benefit from the state’s pro-business tax climate, world-class infrastructure, skilled workforce, affordable housing and central location. With a population of 240,000, the City of Irving’s highly desirable attributes and amenities have earned it the reputation as Headquarters of Headquarters in Texas.

Irving, TX and Las Colinas, the city’s 12,000-acre masterpiece of a master-planned urban center, have an enviable and unmatched location immediately adjacent to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and 10 minutes to Dallas Love Field. The City intersects with highways 183, 114, 635 and George Bush Turnpike, four of the most important thoroughfares in North Texas. This central location, highway infrastructure and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system gives employers access to a population of 3.3 million skilled workers within a 30-minute commute. However, location is only one reason the city has seven Fortune 500 and five Fortune 1000 global headquarters that call it home with more corporate headquarters than any other city in Texas.

According to a survey earlier this year by the labor analysts at ThinkWhy, the North Texas economy was the third most robust in the country. “We are fortunate to be in the center of the most vibrant business hub in the world. We have a healthy pipeline of prospective relocation “deals” representing more than one billion dollars in capital investments and tens of thousands of jobs. Should the COVID-19 crisis linger, and we experience a slow economic recovery, we are confident that the quality and quantity of our corporate recruitment will remain solid as companies begin to make location decisions for the safety of their workforce,” said Beth A. Bowman, President and CEO of the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and Irving Economic Development Partnership.

A young educated workforce and population diversity are two more reasons why Irving-Las Colinas has attracted and retained U.S. corporations and a remarkable 150 foreign-based companies. Irving-Las Colinas is the 14th Most Diverse City in the U.S. with the 11th Most Diverse Zip Code (75038) in Texas. The median age is 32, which is 6 percent lower than the Texas average, 53 percent of the City’s residents are married, 7 percent speak Spanish as a first language, and most notably, 35 percent of the City’s population is foreign born.

Lifestyle choices are also important to employers to help recruit and retain workforce talent. With 56 beautiful, small lakes throughout Irving-Las Colinas, parks, jogging trails, museums, colleges, hospitals, golf courses, cultural and recreational institutions, a convention center and new convention hotel, Las Colinas Urban Center, the city’s business hub, is an oasis in the heart of a major metropolitan area. Venetian-styled canals flank one side of the 125-acre Lake Carolyn with walking paths that meander around offices, shops, restaurants and luxury multi-family residential areas.

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The Pavilion at The Toyota Music Factory. (Photo: Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce)

Irving’s Las Colinas Urban Center is also a model Transit Oriented Development (TOD) community. TODs are compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities with access to a rapid commuter train system that reduces the need for driving and energy consumption up to 85 percent. Millennial workers find that this lower-stress lifestyle makes Irving-Las Colinas a highly desirable place to live, work, play, walk and visit.

Irving-Las Colinas’ Hidden Ridge development is a 51-acre, $1 billion TOD with over 3,000,000 square feet of planned Class A office space. The mixed-use project, located adjacent to the newest DART rail station scheduled to open later this year, includes the recently completed 1 million-square-foot global headquarters for Pioneer Natural Resources. Hidden Ridge is near Lake Carolyn, Water Street with more than 1,900 multi-family units, restaurants and green space, and the popular Toyota Music Factory entertainment district.

The Toyota Music Factory is a world-class entertainment destination with its 8,000 seat indoor/outdoor amphitheater and 50,000-square-foot outdoor event plaza. The entertainment district offers every genre of music, entertainment and nearly two dozen restaurants and wine bars. This dazzling entertainment complex is adjacent to the Irving Convention Center and the new 350-room Westin Convention Center Hotel.

Irving-Las Colinas is also known as a city Built for Business. In a statewide survey of office building projects, Irving-Las Colinas ranked second with more than 4 million square feet of building during the past 10 years. Warehouse construction, particularly important in filling the growing needs for e-commerce companies, is an important part of the Irving economy.

Irving’s master-planned Las Colinas Urban Center has successfully blended the needs of the corporate workplace with innovative technology, beautiful living options and the full range of recreation and entertainment that attracts millennial workforce talent—all within walking distance and convenient transportation. Access to 5G wireless technology allows employees to work at the office, in the community or from their home with seamless connectivity.

“We are confident that North Texas economic fundamentals are the strongest in the nation, and that they remain so particularly for Irving-Las Colinas. We are the address that corporations want. We have the amenities that employers need to attract and retain talent in a safe competitive environment. We have value, location and infrastructure. All these attributes that have made Irving-Las Colinas the “Headquarters of Headquarters” will remain our strength through this economic disruption and beyond,” says Mrs. Bowman.

For more information about why corporations from around the world are making Irving-Las Colinas their corporate home, contact the Irving Economic Development Partnership at


The location of any corporate headquarters is indicative of the success they, as a company, aspire to. It is chosen for its capable workforce, resources and geographical strengths. As well as its capacity for growth. And so is the case for the corporate HQs stationed in Topeka, Kansas.

Topeka, the capital city of Kansas, is home to various HQs with an emphasis on professional and financial services and animal health and ag tech. These organizations benefit from the Capital City’s particular strengths, including its central location within the Animal Health Corridor: an area stretching from Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri that is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. A few distinct animal health organizations headquartered in Topeka include global and national standouts such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Bimini Pet Health.

Topeka, and Kansas in general, has the logistical advantage of being centrally located. To quote the Kansas Department of Commerce, “Kansas’ strategic location at the convergence of I-35 and I-70 places it at the crossroads of America.” As a “hub of accessibility,” it takes less than three days to reach anywhere in the continental U.S. from Topeka.

Other competitive advantages include Topeka’s lower energy cost (18 percent fewer than the national average); it’s lower cost of doing business (15 percent fewer than the national average); aggressive cash incentives for jobs, investment and training; access to talent from four major universities within a 60-mile radius; home to three of the top 10 financial service insurance marketing organizations (IMO); and is home to international peers: Security Benefit, Advisors Excel, Federal Home Loan Bank and Gradient. In recent years, Topeka has experienced a flurry of new growth and development. What follows is only a taste of the progress achieved by corporate HQs in the past year.

In August 2019 it was announced that Topeka had been selected by Plug and Play, a globally recognized venture capital fund and corporate innovation platform, to be a startup accelerator location focused on animal health science and ag tech. As Plug and Play’s next startup accelerator city, Topeka is slated to host upwards of 20 startup companies per year as each one goes through the three-month startup accelerator program. One of Topeka’s major attributes for selection is its prime location within the Animal Health Corridor.

Based out of Silicon Valley, Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that connects over 400 corporate partners from 17 industries with its ecosystem of startups, investors and public institutions, running over 60 accelerator programs across 30 global locations each year.

In December 2019, Walmart announced it had chosen the Capital City as the site of its next distribution facility in the United States. The arrival of this new distribution center will bring with it an estimated 300 new full-time positions over the next 5 years with competitive salaries plus benefits, which are among the best in the retail industry, creating in the next 10 years a total economic impact of $635 million.

Compared to Kansas’ three other Walmart distribution centers, Topeka’s new facility will be the largest in the state, with more than 1.8 million square feet at approximately 35′ clear stacking height. This contributes to the company’s more than 1.8 million square feet of existing space spread across its three other distribution center locations in Kansas.

There have been several recent expansions in Topeka. Since opening in 2005, insurance marketing organization (IMO) Advisor Excel has continued to not only thrive in Topeka, but also massively expand its workforce and facilities. In the fall of 2019, Advisors Excel finished its most recent expansion. In the next five years, this expansion will bring 220 new full-time jobs with an average salary of $52,000 plus benefits, resulting in a one-time economic impact of $12.4 million from the capital investment and a total economic impact of $650 million over 10 years from the added jobs.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive, has been a fixture in Topeka since the turn of the 20th century. Once an animal feed and meat packing company, Hill’s has gone on to break new ground in pet health and nutrition. The company is perhaps best known for their Science Diet brand pet food.

In August 2019, Hill’s Pet Nutrition broke ground on the Small Paws Colony and Engagement Center. The Engagement Center will have dedicated space to host educational seminars and continuing education programs for veterinary students and professionals as well as other career pet caregivers.

Bimini Pet Health, provider of private label and custom manufactured pet supplements, announced plans to expand its operations in the Capital City in December 2019. In addition to new employment opportunities, the capital investment includes the building purchase and improvements.


The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership is your link to a highly successful business climate in Texas. We coordinate all available resources in The Woodlands Area to help facilitate your move to this vibrant business and lifestyle community.

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Oak Ridge Aerial. (Photo: The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership)

The Woodlands, Texas is a 28,000-acre development, 27 miles north of Houston—one of the best-selling, master planned communities in Texas and the nation.

The Woodlands Area offers a pro-business atmosphere, unique class A office space, great proximity to international airports and world class shopping, as well as fine dining, residential living, championship golf, excellent education systems and more. This is the place where you can live, work, play and learn.

The area’s economic base is well diversified with more than 9,000 businesses of all sectors. These businesses range from owner-operated establishments to Fortune 500 corporations, including Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Alight Solutions, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, Huntsman Corporation, McKesson Specialty Health, Repsol USA and Waste Connections.

The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership has three service areas:

  • The Woodlands, a master-planned community with 35 million square feet of office, retail, hospitality, research, institutional and industrial space
  • Oak Ridge North features The Oak Ridge North Commerce Park offering 30 acres of land that is perfect for retail, industrial or office space.
  • The City of Shenandoah has a growing population and the City is undergoing an explosion in commercial and retail development.

Healthcare is the largest industry sector in The Woodlands Area with four acute care world-class hospitals: Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, CHI St. Luke’s Health, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands and a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport is the 10th busiest airport in the U.S., located just 15 miles south of The Woodlands Area. Fifteen miles to the north is the Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport, an all-weather airport that hosts over 300 aircraft, 240 hangars, a control tower, two FBOs, a general aviation terminal building, a U.S. Army Reserve Aviation unit and more than 20 businesses and several government agencies. Conroe North Houston Regional Airport is also an International airport with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station to serve the needs of corporate and business travelers arriving from outside the United States.

The Conroe North Houston Regional Airport is also home to a luxurious FBO terminal to accommodate the large influx of business travelers to Montgomery County. The 45,000-square-foot Galaxy FBO terminal is an impressive gateway to north Houston, boasting the impressive Black Walnut Café and 100,000 square feet of hangar space.

The Woodlands Heliport, located in Oak Ridge North, is just 3 miles from The Woodlands Town Center. The FAA-approved heliport is serviced by Galaxy FBO and features an 80 feet by 80 feet concrete pad and hangar space for helicopter storage.

The Port of Houston, located 56 miles south of The Woodlands, is consistently ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne commerce, U.S. imports and export tonnage. It is also the nation’s leading break-bulk post, handling 65 percent of all major U.S. project cargo.

The Woodlands Area has a highly educated workforce with 62 percent having a college degree. Residents can attend Lone Star College – Montgomery and the Lone Star College – University Center, a partnership between Texas Universities and the private sector, which provides unduplicated bachelors and masters degrees as well as continuing professional studies with Our Lady of the Lake University, University of Houston-Victoria, Stephen F. Austin State University and University of St. Thomas.

Rice Business Executive Education, in partnership with The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership, offers The Leadership Accelerator Program August 25-28, 2020, which transforms established managers into impactful leaders.

The Woodlands Area is also served by the Conroe Independent School District, Magnolia Independent School District, Tomball Independent School District, Montgomery Independent School District and numerous private institutions, including the college preparatory The John Cooper School, Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy, The Woodlands Preparatory School, The Woodlands Christian Academy, iSchool High The Woodlands – Early College High and The Woodlands Classical Academy.

The Woodlands Area offers everything from single-family production homes to custom estates, condominiums, townhomes, brownstones and attractively priced apartments.

The Woodlands was ranked #2 Best City to Raise a Family in America, #3 Best City to Buy a House in America, #4 Best City to Live in America and obtained an A+ overall grade by Best Places 2019.

Southern Living Magazine calls The Woodlands “One of America’s Best Shopping Destinations” with over 11 million SF of world-class shopping with retailers large and small, and over 150 restaurants.

The community is known for its golf courses and has hosted many major events, including the PGA’s Shell Houston Open and the LPGA Samsung World Championship, and is currently home to the Insperity Invitational. Signature golf courses by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Fazio are located in the community.

There is always something to do in the area, with over 130 parks and 200 miles of hike and bike trails. Activities at Lake Woodlands, a 200-acre lake flanked by two parks, is a wonderful place for sailing, rowing, kayaking and fishing, and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a world-class amphitheater, is a great place to see performances.

The Woodlands Area invites you to experience an active and enriching quality of life.

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