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With a motto of “Developed for Business, Built for Life,” Las Colinas has lived up to the expectations concocted by ol’ B. H. Carpenter when the cattle rancher and multimillionaire founded the sub-suburb in 1973. It makes perfect sense, really: Located midcontinent and just minutes from AA’s DFW international hub, Las Colinas (or the LC, as I call it) boasts 22.3 million square feet of office space, 8.5 million square feet of light industrial space and 1.3 million square feet of retail space. But since you can’t live at your desk, there’s also a megaplex of zoned personal space: There are currently 4,000 single-family homes (with 500-plus under construction) a nd a whopping 10,600 units in upscale multifamily buildings (with more than 1,200 additional units under construction or planned). Not too shabby for an office park.
So, should I go to the eighth floor of the parking garage and set my stare on the LC, October 2010 would spontaneously and seamlessly become October 1999, and Las Colinas would become the sterile corporate backdrop from the decisive, career-shaping, major-defining movie Office Space. I’d be able to see Peter Gibbons lumbering along the highway on his way to work. I’d observe Samir Nagheenanajar and Michael Bolton beating up a fax machine and Milton listening to his radio at a reasonable volume. And I’d gauge Lawrence’s reaction to the concept of someone asking him if he has “a case of the Mondays.”
The movie was shot partly in Las Colinas and mostly in Austin at a similar Initech-esque office park. The message, however, transcends the DFW metroplex as well as the Austin city limits. If you were in college or were a recent graduate when this movie was released, and if you were either in a job or looking for one at the time, you ran away from suburban corporate theme parks. I, for one, quit my job after my 15th screening of Office Space. I was working in Las Colinas at the time. Today, if I moseyed on over to the eighth floor of the parking garage, I’d see myself circa 1999. And I’d see Lawrence dragging himself up to Las Colinas to drywall the new McDonald’s.
Just the other day, Dallas-based writer Thomas Korosec submitted his well-crafted, thoroughly reported business story about the trend of co-officing . I know Korosec. We worked together at a street paper in Dallas prior to my Office Space days in Las Colinas. I know his work is outstanding and error-proof, yet I also know that when Korosec is writing business, he, too, is all business. The story highlights an interesting alternative to home-officing, but the joker in me couldn't see past the initial Office Space image.
If I had a million dollars, I know exactly what I’d do. I’d continue to come to work because unlike Peter Gibbons, I love my job. But I would take that money and have my office moved to the eighth floor of the parking garage. Then I’d navel-gaze north/northeast, past the crisscrossing freeway overpasses and the big hole in the ground that once was Texas Stadium, and I’d laugh my way through Monday.