Moving Day: Toyota’s Transition Starts as Employees Check out New Plano Headquarters

Staff Photographer

Doug Beebe was antsy early Monday morning, as the sky turned from pink and purple to light blue over the 2 million square foot campus he helped build.

The first wave of Toyota employees — mostly in facilities and information systems management — were streaming into the auto giant’s new North American headquarters in Plano.

And Beebe, the guy who managed what observers have described as a construction project unprecedented in North Texas, wanted to see their faces.

“I’m hoping it’s a bit of a Christmas Day kind of thing,” he said, glancing toward the newly opened parking garage adjacent to E 1, the first building to open.

Ultimately, about 4,000 Toyota employees will work in the gleaming, 100-acre development.

Many of those workers will be moving into Dallas-Fort Worth from Southern California, where the company’s North American presence has been rooted for decades.

The change, experts have said, was a high point of North Texas’ economic development strategy and encapsulated the ways in which corporate decision-making is increasingly shaping major metro areas.

It stunned California officials and has been touted as a win by Texans trying to recruit still more massive corporate employers to the state.

Toyota announced the move in 2014. The campus, unlike many large developments, was built in one phase.

Beebe said that in order to ensure that everyone’s in place by Dec. 11, the company will move an average of 250 employees over 31 move dates.

That number will peak at about 350 during the summer before tapering off as the year winds down.

Construction, Beebe said, will officially end in October and has been on schedule.

Monday’s move-in date, for instance, had been set more than a year ago.

Clusters of balloons lined the short sidewalk from the parking garage as men and women hustled toward their desks.

Some carried boxes or wore backpacks.

Not far away, construction workers in hard hats and neon vests were already at work.

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