Case Study: 4 Reasons for Economic Success in America's Fastest Growing City
Lisa A. Bastian (July 2011)

Not too many years ago, Jim Gandy remembers Frisco, Texas, as a rural place with flashing-light intersections. "You couldn't even find a store to buy a pair of socks," he recalls. By 1990, bird hunting was the key tourist attraction in this small farming community (pop. 6,138), established in 1902 at a train stop operated by the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway ("The Frisco").

By 1997, the little town located just 20 minutes north of Dallas had began to grow; 29,000 people called Frisco home, and Gandy joined the Frisco Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) as executive vice president. Along with other city partners, his team knew they had a golden opportunity to develop a highly promising region almost from the ground floor up.

Today, the now-wealthy Dallas suburb is situated in the booming growth corridor running along the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road. All grown up, modern Frisco sparkles with eight million square feet of shopping, 15 day spas, 1,500 hotel rooms, four professional sports teams, and - most importantly - 9,000 businesses, which serve the needs of the 72-square-mile city's 121,380+ citizens (June 2011). Since 1991, FEDC's recruitment of more than 190 companies has resulted in more than 23,000 jobs, 23 million square feet of office space, and capital investment in excess of $2.7 billion . New major corporate citizens include Oracle USA, Genband, Sheplers, Ameriflex, and Associated Network Partners, Inc.

Along with explosive growth have come accolades. Last June, the U.S. Census Bureau identified Frisco as the number-one fastest-growing community in America among cities of 100,000 or more. Bureau data showed Frisco's 2009 population of 102,412 had grown 210 percent since the 2000 census counted 33,695 souls. Forbes.com named the city as one of the top 10 places to relocate (2009). And Money Magazine recognized the city as one of the top 100 places to live in the nation (2008) due to strong infrastructure, quality commercial developments, and exceptional leadership.

Why have people and companies flocked to Frisco?