Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fresh Shoots in Telecom Corridor

Ten years ago, Richardson's economy was thriving thanks to a booming tech economy and the concentration of telecom and networking giants in Richardson. With Nortel, Alcatel, MCI, AT&T, Cisco and others having a significant presence in Richardson, the Chamber of Commerce even coined the term Telecom Corridor to promote Richardson. That was then. Then the bubble burst. News out of Richardson for the last decade has been more likely to be announcement of layoffs or bankruptcy than good news. In an effort to diversify, Richardson attracted Countrywide Financial to fill office space in the decimated Telecom Corridor. Yes, Countrywide, the nation's No. 1 mortgage lender came to Richardson just in time for the housing bubble collapse. The city couldn't catch a break.

That's what makes the three separate business stories in my inbox this morning especially welcome. None is big news. None will turn Richardson around. But, they are all good news and good news has been rare in the last decade. It's what business news was like during the good times, when announcements of new products and new business ventures came out seemingly daily. So, just for today, you're forgiven if you want to dream of partying like it's 1999 again.

Reuters: "Now, Treemapping for the Rest of Us: The Hive Group Introduces 'HiveOnDemand'"
Who cares what treemapping is, who the Hive Group is, and why they think the name HiveOnDemand is a good marketing decision? They claim that "The launch of this new offering is a notable milestone for business visualization" and I'm willing to pretend they are right. If CEOs want to think of their employees as bees busily working away in a hive and need a tool to visualize pollen collection or honey production, that's fine with me, as long as they are buying software and helping restore prosperity to Richardson.
Reuters: "TriQuint & Huawei Announce Partnership in Next-Generation Optical Transport Systems"
TriQuint is a manufacturer of semiconductors, that is, high tech computer chips. And they sell to Huawei, a Chinese company. That's right, there's a factory in Richardson and it's making things that we sell to the Chinese. More of that, please.
TradingMarkets.com: "Digital Realty Trust acquires 60% joint venture interest in Texas datacentre park"
This is the old Collins Radio site, where the first of Richardson's high tech businesses located in the 1950s. The campus has sat idle and empty for several years since Alcatel moved out. Now, it's getting a makeover as a data center, a building crammed with racks of computers and wiring providing computing service to businesses around the world. The first of seven buildings has already been remodelled and new landscaping sure makes it look like a burst of new growth is imminent. But, sadly, for months now the newly remodelled building has sat just as idle and empty as before. Maybe today's news that Digital Realty Trust is putting new money into the redevelopment means that someone will finally occupy the site. Dreams persist that if you build it, they will come.

Meanwhile, up the highway in Plano, the Krispy Kreme store is closing. What will Richardson residents eat to celebrate our returning prosperity?