Growth is the buzzword around Allen, an affluent suburb just north of Dallas. The city of 96,000 residents has worked to actively create economic opportunities within its borders, and the efforts are bearing fruit: Allen has seen $1.6 billion of development breaking ground in 2017 alone. A number of tech and cybersecurity companies have recently committed to the area, bringing with them hundreds of jobs. Data company CyrusOne recently purchased 66 acres of land to support an expected $1 billion data campus in Allen in the coming years.
A $91 million convention center and hotel complex will start serving patrons in 2018, while international real estate firm Hines recently announced plans for the Strand, a 135-acre mixed-use development that will bring office space, retail outlets, residential options, and a greenbelt and waterway.
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Chanda Reddy, a physician who lives and works in Allen, says the growth has also attracted a more diverse population—something she appreciates. “It’s become a lot more multicultural in the last 12 or 13 years,” says Reddy. “I absolutely love Allen. A lot of the Dallas suburbs don’t have all the restaurants, shopping, and things to do right in town. Allen does.”
Reddy, 41, and her husband especially enjoy taking their kids to Watters Creek, a scenic shopping center that features restaurants and boutiques surrounding a green area where families can relax and play. “The adults all sit on the patio, drink wine, listen to live music, while the kids can play on the green, and we can keep an eye on them,” she says.
Indeed, there are plenty of attractions for families, including the impressive Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, a fully enclosed indoor water park that also a features a rock-climbing wall; a brand-new park for wakeboarding; and the largest outdoor skate park in Texas. The Courses at Watters Creek offers an 18-hole golf course for traditional golfers, along with a family-friendly six-hole course.
The school system is also a big draw; the district has been ranked as one of the best in the state of Texas, and Allen students routinely outperform the state averages in both reading and math. There is only one high school in town, with more than 5,000 students; it also boasts one of the largest high school football stadiums in the country. The size can be daunting, but Reddy says she’s excited for her kids to have “lots of opportunities you don’t get in some of the smaller high schools. They can really do anything they want.” —Ismat Sarah Mangla