Development's Booming in Fort Bend
Fort Bend County has some of the best residential communities and largest chunks of available land in the metro leading to some of the fastest growth in the country. That’s why we’re excited to host Bisnow’s Future of Fort Bend County on May 27 starting at 7am at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square.
Katy added more than 8,000 new jobs between 2013 and 2014, and it’s filling up office space. Katy EDC CEO Lance LaCour (a panelist at our event) says a couple of spec office developments are coming online soon (including Katy Ranch and Mason Office Creek II), but absorption is keeping pace—tenants filled 1.4M SF since the beginning of 2014. The new jobs are split between engineering, accounting, research, and service industries.
But office isn’t the whole story; industrial projects like West 10 Crossing, Mason Ranch, and Skybox’s data center are delivering soon, and new industrial RFPs keep coming. (Lance tells us he has four due this week alone.) He’s also crossing his fingers for more education offerings—a tuition revenue bond is in the legislature for a $40M UH campus that Lance has been working on for nine years. Another gap that Lance hopes to fill soon is in the dining and entertainment sector. He’d like to see more options in Katy, and the upcoming Katy Boardwalk project (above) would fit the bill with a new convention center, full service four diamond hotel, boardwalk, and town center development.
City of Richmond director of economic development Rob Tobias (another panelist) is targeting healthcare, tech/IT (companies are looking at moving into Richmond and building a cluster), corporate/mixed-use developments, and residential. Residential is already a strong suit, Rob tells us, with Johnson Development and KB Homes building major subdivisions. He’s particularly excited by Del Webb’s Sweetgrass community, one of the hottest subdivisions in the county. Richmond was recently ranked the tenth best senior housing market in Texas, and Del Webb has only built half of its planned 1,500 units. Bonus: its activity boosts the healthcare sector, too. (Oak Bend Medical Center is already one of the biggest healthcare providers in Fort Bend.)
Richmond has over 500 acres available along the expanding I-69 for corporate/mixed-use, Rob tells us; Midway has already committed to develop over 200 acres. The hotel sector is also soaring—until a couple of months ago, Richmond had no hotels but now one is under construction, one is planned, and a group is looking at building Fort Bend’s first resort hotel there. Rob’s also focusing on Richmond’s historic district—the City is wrapping up a study on it, and the area is attracting a lot of attention. A lot of that is coming from Sugar Land; Dr. Frank Mazza is relocating his concierge healthcare practice, one Sugar Land resident is redeveloping a theater into the Morton Street Winery and Catalyst Restaurant Group opted to buy in Richmond’s historic area instead of Sugar Land.
City of Fulshear economic development director Cheryl Stalinsky (center, in sunglasses, she’s speaking at our event) hasn’t had to incentivize development (other than the occasional tax abatement) to get activity—she tells us people and companies have wanted to come to Fulshear and will pay whatever it takes. The city is a mecca of master-planned development—two of its five existing communities are ranked in the top 20 in the nation (Firethorne and Cross Creek Ranch), and four new master-planned developments are in the works. When Cheryl first came to the 33,000-acre city in ’06, it had 916 residents. Now it’s approaching 8,000.
With all those rooftops, it’s no surprise retail has been the big story recently. Fulshear is leading Fort Bend with 65% of sales tax from retail, and lots of new development is coming soon. That includes Market at Cross Creek Ranch, the city’s first very large shopping center. (It’s 200k SF including a 98k SF HEB.) Fulshear shot from zero grocery stores to three this cycle, and its first Starbucks and CVS are opening soon. The whole 1463 corridor is spoken for, so she’s thrilled that Fulshear Parkway is coming in to connect I-10 to 1093 and open up a new area. Join us for Bisnow’s Future of Fort Bend County on May 27 starting at 7am at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Register now!