February 12, 2021

Health care firm unveils plans for massive new headquarters in Las Colinas


By Ryan Salchert
Staff Writer

Five months after the Business Journal broke the news that CHRISTUS Health was eyeing a 400,000-square-foot build-to-suit headquarters in Las Colinas, the multinational health care system has officially unveiled its plans.

CHRISTUS is finalizing its purchase of a 4.2-acre parcel of land at the northwest corner of N. O’Connor and W. Las Colinas boulevards, the company said Thursday. The land is being sold by State Bank of Texas, which has plans of its own to build a future headquarters next door. The new CHRISTUS office will stand between 13-15 stories tall and will include a 10-story parking garage.

Real estate development firm Fidelis Healthcare Partners, an affiliate of Houston-based Fidelis Realty Partners, led CHRISTUS through its site selection and pre-development planning for the new office. The company will also develop the project once the site is acquired. The headquarters has been designed by BOKA Powell and will include integrated work spaces, outdoor patios, conference rooms and large areas for collaboration.

“How we’re designing the building is really with a focus on the outdoors. We’re focused on really enhancing that quality of life, especially in what we’ve learned through the pandemic, with opportunities to be outside,” said Ernie Sadau, CEO of CHRISTUS Health.

The health care system’s leadership team began considering building its own headquarters about two years ago, Sadau said. The organization currently leases about 350,000 square feet between 909 and 919 Hidden Ridge, both in Las Colinas.

“When we first decided to consolidate our corporate office in Irving-Las Colinas nine years ago, we realized how important this location was,” Sadau said. “We’ve always felt very aligned with where we’re located. We’ve felt that our ability to attract a significant amount of highly skilled employees, the cost of living, quality of life, access to transportation and access to the airport were all significant.”

When CHRISTUS first moved its operations to Las Colinas, it had about 600 employees at its corporate office. Now, the company has around 2,000. Its new headquarters will be able to accommodate 2,200 employees, said Sadau. While CHRISTUS did look outside of Irving-Las Colinas for land sites, its relationship with the city and the area’s amenities ultimately led them to stay.

“This announcement is about more than just a building. Our goal has always been to provide an environment that will enhance the quality of life of our associates. We wanted an environment with a lot of access to lifestyle living. If associates chose to live close by, they would have access to entertainment, the outdoors, shopping, restaurants; you name it,” Sadau said.

The new headquarters is expected to break ground in early spring and deliver in 2023. As part of its agreement with the city of Irving, CHRISTUS will receive up to $4.87 million in tax reimbursements for improvements to its new site. It will also receive $309,000 from the city’s Economic Development Incentive Fund for retaining 1,311 jobs through the end of 2024 and creating 150 few jobs by the end of 2026.

“The city of Irving, the chamber and the economic development partnership have been very supportive. They took a leap of faith on us nine years ago and they’re working with us again to stay in the area,” Sadau said. “When we see that and the quality of life that this area can provide, it makes us believe that we’ve made the right decision.”

CHRISTUS Health currently employs about 45,000 people in four countries and has over $8 billion in assets under management. It operates over 600 facilities worldwide, including long-term care, community hospitals, walk-in clinics and health ministries.

“This is the second time we’ve worked with this organization, and to see them grow, expand, evaluate where they’ll end up, and ultimately remain here is really an enthusiastic vote of confidence,” said Beth Bowman, president and CEO of the Irving Economic Development Partnership. “It’s a validation that we truly are the Headquarters of Headquarters.”