Toyota unveils renderings of its Plano campus

Toyota Motor North America Inc.'s Plano campus will employ up to 5,000 workers and open in 2017.

PLANO — Toyota Motor North America Inc. unveiled renderings of its future Plano campus this month, offering the world a glimpse of the 2.1-million-square-foot North American headquarters planned to open in 2017 along Legacy Drive, just south of State Highway 121.

“Welcome to the unveiling of Toyota’s future North American headquarters,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of the Toyota North America, at a June 24 press event.

Huddled within a modest test, Lentz told reporters and other media representatives that the company is emphasizing not only innovative products and an environmentally sustainable campus with native Texas plants and rooftop solar panels, but also customer needs.

“Our mission for our new home here in Plano is taking shape, and while much still has to be decided, we believe that the products we’ve made so far offer an exciting, intriguing glimpse into the future of One Toyota,” said Lentz.

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The company’s move from the Los Angeles community of Torrance comes amid rising demand for autos.

Toyota kicked off this year celebrating a 15.6 percent increase in demand in January compared with the same period last year.

It plans to maintain and exceed that momentum with a campus boasting seven buildings, each up to five stories tall, surrounding a central plaza offering dining, fitness and conferencing capabilities.

Texas limestone and glass will comprise the bulk of the structures, with the automaker planning to obtain LEED Platinum certification for its campus, denoting the highest level possible from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Other environmentally conscious features will allow for catching and storing water for irrigation. Meanwhile, roof overhangs on southern exposures will provide shade. The angle also will allow natural light to illuminate the facility, minimizing the amount of electricity used.

Serving as lead architect for the campus was Dallas-based Corgan Associates Inc.

“Our work with some of the best designers, builders, architects — along with important input from our own team members — has inspired our thinking around how our new facilities can support and enhance the One Toyota experience,” said Lentz.

The executive referred to the company’s decision to consolidate Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Toyota Financial Services, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. and Toyota Logistics Services in Plano.

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About 5,000 employees are expected to work at the facility. How many employees will relocate to Texas will be known by year’s end, Lentz said.

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere applauded the city’s newest corporate neighbor and its projected economic impact on his community.

From jobs to taxes, the company’s Texas consolidation is expected to have a $7 billion economic impact for Plano over the coming decade, LaRosiliere said. To ensure the move, Plano officials in May 2014 approved tax breaks and millions of dollars in economic incentives.

“This headquarters will be a cutting-edge facility,” LaRosiliere told the press gathering. “It really demonstrates the company’s commitment and responsibility to being a conscientious member of the community,” LaRosiliere said.

Meanwhile, the company also used the June 24 press event to kick off its Ever-Better Expedition, in which groups of Toyota engineers and other company associates are driving a convoy of Toyota vehicles across the nation to experience the bumps and byways driven by their customers every day. The convoy departed Plano at 11 a.m. the day of the press event, kicking off a 110-day trip in which Toyota officials will test vehicle performance and incorporate their road experiences into future product development.