PLANO — It’s not every Monday you see a rocking block party in the middle of Plano, but then again, it’s not every day that the world’s largest seller of cars and trucks moves to town.

Monday morning marked the launch of “Hello Texas,” the formal introduction of Toyota to its new North American home.

The state rolled out the welcome mat, courtesy of Governor Rick Perry, who helped woo the national headquarters to the area.

There were kind words about Texas’ business climate and the quality of life, and executives said by consolidating the North American Headquarters to one city, they expect further success.

“It’s a myriad of things and when you look at all the different criteria, everything points to one location and that’s right here,” said CEO of Toyota North America Jim Lentz. He already has his Texas driver’s license. But, how many other Toyota employees will follow him?

“We basically told all of our associates that if you want to come to Plano with us you have a job in Plano,” he said. “But for a number of different reasons, people may not be able to make that move. So, we’ll have a better idea about this time next year.”

Four-thousand employees would have to relocate to North Texas, but the CEO expects that number to shrink after some restructuring. Even so, it means a lot of new cars on the road, people looking for homes and more kids in schools in our area. So, to start being a part of this community, Toyota did what a neighbor would do. It threw a block party, complete with music and food all paid for by the company.

“It really is a fabulous first impression,” said Freida Stoutenboro, who’s lived in Plano for decades and says she’s been waiting for another big name.

“I worked for EDS (Electronic Data Systems) for 20-something years and when they left, we needed something here that was going to support the community and make people move to Plano instead of further north,” she said.

She got her wish. Over the next three years, Toyota employees will begin their moves and search for new hires in what they hope will be a seamless transition to their new home.

In May of this year, Plano approved a $6.75-million grant, along with money for relocation and property tax abatement to bring Toyota here. The city says it expects a direct $7.2-billion impact specific to Plano from Toyota’s move over a ten year period.

Toyota executives say they’re in the design phase of their new campus, and hope to move in by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/collin-county/2014/10/27/toyota-throws-block-party-for-plano/18029377/