World championship football and beautiful canals may be the predominant images most people associate with Irving and Las Colinas, but there is plenty more to do and see. If you haven’t been out to visit in a while, take another look and you’ll find premier housing developments, fine arts, entertainment, upscale dining, shopping, and of course, world-class sports. Quiet neighborhoods, friendly people, beautiful parks, and a convenient location are only some of the reasons more and more people are deciding to make Irving their home.
“Irving is a city that is comfortable in its boots and in its suits,” says Mayor Morris Parrish. Despite evolving from a frontier town into a major center of business in less than a century, Irving has not lost touch with its Western roots. The little town that was founded in 1903 on the railroad line between Dallas and Fort Worth now has more than 160,000 residents and has quickly adapted to the cosmopolitan demands of an international city. With a tax base of over $8.5 million, Irving is the only city in the state with a AAA bond rating, a rating held by only 14 other cities across the United States.
Location, Location, Location
Nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving offers a suburban lifestyle with all the benefits of a large city. Irving residents are only 15 minutes from DFW International Airport, the crossroads of corporate America. Business travelers can be anywhere in the continental United States in about three hours. As the second busiest airport in the world, DFW is one of the main reasons so many major corporations choose to relocate their headquarters to Irving. Businesses already located in Irving say the airport is why they stay.
The University of Dallas has earned the reputation as one of the most prestigious private schools in Texas. The Irving campus provides rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs. This Catholic-affiliated university is home to outstanding MBA and International Management divisions.
The medical facilities in Irving are second to none, with such healthcare providers as Columbia operating 20 hospitals and eight surgical centers in the area. Currently, the Columbia Healthcare Systran is finishing work on a new Acute Care and Diagnostic Center in Las Colinas that will offer state-of-the-art medical technology. With Irving Healthcare System, Irving Hospital, Irving Heart Institute, Women’s Pavillion of Health, and Columbia Medical, Irving has become a leader at the forefront of modern health care.
Playing With the Big Boys
Residents of Irving play even harder Diagnostic Center in Las Colinas that will offer state-of-the-art medical technology. With Irving Healthcare System, Irving Hospital, Irving Heart Institute, Women’s Pavillion of Health, and Columbia Medical, Irving has become a leader at the forefront of modern health care.
Playing With the Big Boys
Residents of Irving play even harder than they work. Irving is one of the few cities in the nation that has five professional sports franchises with the Superbowl Champion Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Dallas Burn (American Soccer League). Sports in Texas are more than Just run and games, they’re also big business. Texas Stadium brought over $67 million to Irving last year alone.
Also a golfer’s paradise, Irving has five 18-hole golf courses within the city limits and dozens more within driving distance. Las Colinas Country Club offers an exclusive golf course as well as tennis, swimming, and workout facilities to its members. Each May, the Four Seasons Resort in Las Coli-nas turns out all the pomp and pageantry for the GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic. As one of the main stops on the PGA tour, spectators this year got to watch the new golden boy of golf, Tiger Woods.
It makes sense that a city with such a Western legacy would be home to one of the best equine facilities in the state. Completed in 1993, the 60-acre Las Colinas Equestrian Center is borne to the Las Colinas Polo Club. With two of the fastest fields in the country, the club draws international players from such polo strongholds as Argentina.
“Polo is about speed, power, and maneuver,” says Las Colinas Polo Club genera] manager Ed Scanlon. The highlight of the Fall Season is the USPA Heritage Cup which will be played October 1-12.
Traditionally a sport for royalty, polo’s unbridled popularity now attracts spectators from a variety of backgrounds. A fast-paced nature, adrenaline-packed matches, and the exhilarating merger of speed and agility have maintained polo’s ability to draw new audiences of all ages.
Irving is a city that recognizes the importance of maintaining its historical roots. The downtown Heritage District has been preserved to offer a glimpse of days gone by. Turn-of-the-century homes like the Heritage House, a designated Texas State Historical Landmark, Parrish Home, and Gilbert Home provide a slice of life from a simpler time. Nearby Heritage Park has a renovated train depot that honors living’s origins along the railroad.
A strong appreciation for the arts is evident in the number of cultural, musical, and artistic events in Irving throughout the year. Visitors can experience a selection as big as Texas. From art premieres and symphonies to heritage festivals and local celebrations, the diversity of Irving’s sponsors KidsArts, a program designed to educate and introduce children as well as parents to the fine arts. Another patron of the arts is the Irving Arts Board, which sponsors several cultural festivals each year.
Las Colinas – European Look, Texas Attitude
Twenty years ago, Las Colinas was open prairie and grazing cattle. Today, it is the center of living’s urban district and America’s preeminent corporate address. Spanish for “the hills,” Las Colinas is the heart of the city and reflects the culture and spirit of its residents. The 12,000-acre development was a master-planned business and residential community designed by Faison Stone.
Las Colinas offers unparalleled accessibility to cultural, educational, shopping, recreational, entertainment and medical centers – assets which attract residential as well as commercial growth, according to a Faison Stone spokesperson.
Las Colinas received the Urban Land Institute’s Award for Excellence in Visionary Land Use. One-third of Las Colinas is devoted to greenbelts, parks, water ways, and open spaces. This attention to aesthetics and natural preservation reflects the personality of this world-class community.
When people think of Las Colinas, one of the first things that comes to mind is the famous sculpture in Williams Square Park. Standing one-and-a-half times actual life-size, the Mustangs of Las Colinas is the largest bronze equestrian sculpture in the world.
There is an old Texas saying that “a man is no better than his horse, and a man on foot is no man at all.” The Mustangs symbolizes the distinctive spirit, fierce independence, and way of life that built our state and stands as a symbol of Irving, her heritage, and her people.
In April, Las Colinas throws its annual spring Canalfest, an extravaganza of food, music, and crafts set in the ambience of a European village. The cobblestone walks that border Mandalay Canal come alive to the strains of Mariachi music. Strings of lights grace the trees, families and couples stroll past shops and cafés ablaze with color, and Venetian-style water taxis offer tours of the canals and lake.
Las Colinas is also home to the 112-acre Dallas Communications Complex, a $12 million entertainment and media center that brings movie producers from all over the country to Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has become a favorite spot of producers because of vast landscapes, human resources, affordability, unique locations, and the Movie Studios at Las Colinas.
See the Oval Office used in JFK, the model submarine from The Hunt for Red October, and tour the sound stage where such films as Robocop, The Trip to Bountiful.. Leap of Faith, Problem Child, and Screamers were made.
“You’ll discover where movie magic is made right here in Texas,” says Chris Christian, who co-owns the studios along with Ross Perot Jr. “The Movie Studios Tour takes you behind the scenes and into die heart of a working studio. “
There is a special collection of movie memorabilia including costumes from The Sound of Music, Star Trek, and Superman. The new Addams Family Theater offers an interactive glimpse of the latest in special effects.
The Communications Complex also houses the National Museum of Communications, the world’s largest collection of communications memorabilia. From some of the earliest newspaper presses to high-tech camera equipment, the tour educates as it entertains.
Home to America’s Corporate Allstars
Las Colinas is home to over 2,000 international and domestic corporations, a third of which have chosen to locate their headquarters here.
“From a corporate perspective, Irving and Texas are pro-business. Office costs are reasonable, there are many good restaurants and hotels nearby, the transportation system and infrastructure serve us well, and we are only 15 minutes from a world-class airport,” says Tony Atkiss, Vice President of Public Affairs for Exxon.
The businesses and corporations of Las Colinas are major industry leaders that are setting the standards for tomorrow. Companies such as GTE, Kimberly-Clark, Exxon, Quaker State, Bank of America, Westing-house, Temerlin McClain, and the Zale Corporation have headquarters based in Las Colinas. Many other well-known companies have central branches in the area. Names such as US Sprint, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, Corning Laboratories, Fidelity Investments, Lucent Technology, Andersen Consulting, and Frito-Lay can all be found in Irving’s address book.
A rich cultural heritage and flare for business blend together to create Irving’s unique personality. While preserving its western roots, the city has grown into a cosmopolitan center of Fine art, tourism, and international business. On the cutting edge of tomorrow, Irving along with Las Colinas will help usher in a new century of advancements in medical care, higher standards of education, and a better quality of life.
"Heartbreak Hotel" captures a very different bar at the Stoneleigh Hotel and a very different Dallas in 1977.
By Matt Goodman
Restaurants & Bars
And don’t sleep on the “Wine-Dow,” a patio window through which you can order a glass to sip on al fresco.