Exclusive: Associa to relocate 700 jobs into [Richardson]

By Candace Carlisle | Staff Writer
Dallas Business Journal 



Texas State Sen. John Carona plans to bring 700 new jobs into Dallas-Fort Worth as part of his Dallas-based association management firm's national consolidation, a move that will save the company millions of dollars each year.

By creating a national shared service center in North Texas, Associa Inc. will trim 300 jobs from its current workforce of 9,200 employees in 170 branch offices throughout North America, Carona, who is president, CEO and chairman of the company, told the Dallas Business Journalin an exclusive interview.


"We think in this day and age, we owe it to our clients to be as efficient as possible," he told me. "This savings allows us to better train our core employees and offer the best in class service by quality employees."


The majority of the 700 employees -- about 85 percent -- are expected to be new hires in North Texas to fill jobs moving from throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, he told me. The consolidation is estimated to cost the company $6 million to relocate and offer severance packages to workers.


"We believe in the highly-educated workforce here, and people are eager to work and build upon their careers that we hope to retain throughout their career," he told me.


Carona, who serves as chairman of the Texas senate committee on business and commerce, said he's reviewed a number of reports that conclude Texas is one of the top five spots for business in the country, which convinced him this was the right move for Associa.


That's why he's signed a lease for 62,500 square feet of office space at a building dubbed Collins Center at 1225 Alma Road in Richardson, which is the first speculative office building to hit the submarket in the past decade. The developer, Dallas-based Fobare Commercial LP, expects to complete the project in January.


Associa plans to move into the facility upon the project's completion. Along with the back office operations, Carona says the company is negotiating to take additional space at the property to bring Associa's headquarters to Richardson.


If the deal goes through, Associa plans to sell 5401 N. Central Expressway, south of Mockingbird Lane, where it currently has its corporate office. The three-story building currently is valued at $5.3 million, according to the Dallas Central Appraisal District.


"The timing and interest in the building made sense to place it on the market," Carona told me. "We have a long list of interested parties because the real estate and economy have come roaring back. We just haven't found the right party yet."


Associa has applied for local and state tax incentives for the deal through Linda Burns, a longtime economic incentive guru. A decision on the incentives are expected in the near future.

Al Paniagua Jr. of Swearingen Realty Group LLC represented Associa in the real estate deal, with Brett Carr of the firm's real estate department. Chris Doggett and Rick Currey represented the landlord, Fobare Commercial. 
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