Real estate leaders see good fit for North Texas patent office

By Candice Carlisle | Staff Writer
Dallas Business Journal

There’s a buzz in the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate community after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently announced that it plans to establish a satellite office in North Texas.


The Alexandria, Va.-based organization announced July 2 that it plans to open satellite offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Silicon Valley. As of press time Wednesday it had not announced where it would locate a Dallas-area office or how many employees the office could hire.


The Dallas-Fort Worth office could be one of the offices that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must open by September 2014.


Even without a lot of information, Dallas-Fort Worth real estate sources are betting the project could land in downtown Dallas, North Dallas or Las Colinas. It will likely tie to the type of employees that the patent office plans to hire, according to real estate sources.


One of the likely locations — Dallas’ central business district — would have a good pool of lawyers, as well as real estate, said Susan Arledge, president and CEO of Dallas-based Arledge Partners, which helps firms with site selection, labor analysis and real estate decisions.


“I’m not sure if they are hiring patent attorneys, but the labor force and professionals in Dallas-Fort Worth are probably behind their decision to locate here,” Arledge said. “Downtown is a great location for a patent office like this, and there is plenty of available buildings that are secure.”


Based on the announcement, Arledge estimates there’s probably 200 employees associated with the North Texas patent office. The patent office would likely choose a multi-tenant building, she said.


Dallas law firms are located in the core of downtown and Uptown Dallas, but other areas, such as Las Colinas, could be an attractive location for the office, said Hunter Blanks, executive vice president at Colliers International’s Dallas office. Blanks has represented law firms, as well as other firms, in their real estate decisions.


“There are a number of patent attorneys in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the whole region,” Blanks said, adding that the decision could come down to other factors such as access to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the specialization of the employee.


If the workforce is primarily technology-focused, the submarkets could shift to the North Dallas or the Las Colinas area, said King White, president of Dallas-based Site Selection Group, which helps high-tech companies with real estate site selection.


“They could hire a technical workforce as well as lawyers, and there are submarkets that attract those employees,” White said. “If they need technical talent, they could head to North Dallas.”


Regardless of where the office lands, the announcement was a huge win for DFW, said Bill Sproull, CEO of the Richardson Economic Development Partnership. Richardson is in the North Dallas submarket.


“This is the first time in 200 years that this has happened — the approval of a new patent system,” Sproull said. “Having expanded access to the patent office will be helpful to the region and will make it a hot corporate area for research and development and benefit economically to the region.”


A consideration


A U.S. Department of Commerce spokeswoman said she wasn’t able to speculate on the office requirements of the project by press time.


The General Services Administration, the government entity that manages and supports functions, such as a real estate search, has not yet received the requirements from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said Tina Jaegerman, a General Services Administration spokeswoman.


“We haven’t received the requirements on how large it will be, or if there’s a request for a geographic area,” Jaegerman said. “We give first consideration to the central business district and will see what’s available in the market.”


There’s an executive federal order that requires federal agencies to consider central business districts or adjacent areas first in a real estate search, she said.

“It’s important to help cities revitalize central business districts and support the downtown areas,” she said. 
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