Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne and other city leaders had a vision six years ago when she won the top municipal job. It called for improving schools, working with Planning & Zoning to add more single-family homes, and bringing more economic development and jobs to the community.
Now it’s all coming to fruition, Van Duyne told business leaders in a State of the City address Tuesday night in the Irving Convention Center.
“When I look back at this past year, looking at the development, it’s as if you’ve been pregnant for a really, really long time,” she said. “People keep calling and asking, ‘Have you had the baby yet?’
“We’re about ready to have triplets,” Van Duyne continued. “If you think about all of the cranes you see in the urban center and what it’s going to look like a year from now, two years from now, it is amazing.”
She said Irving is well-positioned to continue as “the economic epicenter of the North Texas region.”
The city had $819 million of construction last year, almost twice as much as in 2004, and the highest in 30 years, she said. More than 14,000 building permits were issued in 2016.
Irving is home to five Fortune 500 companies and nine Fortune 100 companies, and the unemployment rate in Irving is 3.2 percent, which is well below the state rate of 4.6 percent and the national rate of 4.7 percent, Van Duyne said.
Irving property values have increased by double digits in the past year, a trend that mirrors that of North Texas because of the strong regional economy, she added. The city issued 660 new home permits last year, with an average value of more than $400,000.
The city finished the year with a 91-percent commercial property occupancy rate, and the Las Colinas development in Irving continues to be a top recruiting tool as North Texas’ largest office market, Van Duyne said.
The mayor said innovation in Irving is driving success in the city’s businesses, schools, neighborhoods and nonprofits.
“We are all here tonight because we’re invested in our city,” she said. “We are all engaged as change-makers and idea generators. We want to make Irving stronger and we are clearly fulfilling that mission.”
Other Irving highlights in the past year include:
- Irving was identified as the top city in the country for entrepreneurial startup activity by the Kauffman Foundation, an entrepreneurship think tank.
- Irving made the top 10 list for Best City for Job Seekers and ranked No. 6 on the Most Livable Cities list in other surveys.
- Four Irving businesses — Creating and Managing Wealth, DHD Films, Express Employment and Irving Cares — were recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their success, innovations, contributions to economic growth and free enterprise. Only 100 companies nationwide make that list.
Presented by the Dallas Business Journal