Economic Development Digest 
| Economic Development News
Harvey Economic Recovery Grants for Small Business Webinar - TODAY 2 p.m.

Texas Back in Business  provides grants from $50,000 to $250,000 to small businesses damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The application period is through February 2020. Texas Back in Business will host a webinar at 2 p.m. TODAY (Wednesday, February 12), to help business owners understand the program and application process. You can either join online or dial in at 415-655-0001 using access code 668 573 392.    
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable

The Bringing Back Main Street initiative offers local communities a place to share best practices and engage in a regional dialogue about revitalizing and supporting vibrant downtown spaces. The last Bringing Back Main Street roundtable examined How Small Cities Are Raising Development Standards for Future Growth, with presentations from the City of Dayton The Goodman Corporation, and the City of Conroe. 
Liberty, Walker, Wharton Broadband Surveys Open

Liberty , Walker , and Wharton counties are acting to improve high-speed internet (broadband) connections for residents and businesses. Connected Nation is conducting surveys to determine the communities' internet needs. More survey responses will provide better data to help broaden the provision of high-speed internet. 
Downtown Houston Re-opens Incentives for Residential Development

The Downtown Living Initiative provides a subsidy to real estate developers to build in Houston's central business district. The purpose of the incentive is to promote economic development and stimulate business and commercial activity downtown by providing incentives for multifamily residential mixed-use developments.  
Houston Port Region Sees Continued Growth

The Houston Port region has 31 projects under development worth more than $7.6 billion. The Economic Alliance, Houston Port Region estimates that these projects will create 3,169 jobs. Projects include the expansion of Next Wave Energy's 53-acre site in Pasadena; a $300 million capital investment in a chemical project, Baystar Polymers, on Port Road; the INEOS project's expansion of the world's largest styrene monomer plant; and the construction of a facility in the North Channel area by Sprint Waste Services that will allow local carbon to be reused.
Richmond Sees Opportunity Zone Development

CJ Development purchased 42.7 acres to add to previously acquired 15 acres at the Grand Parkway and West Bellfort Street. The combined 58 acres will be named Grand Center at Long Meadow Farms and will offer tracts to users who wish to own property in retail, restaurant, medical, fitness, and other business enterprises.
New FM 1960 Management District Under Formation

The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce signed a contract on January 28 with Hawes Hill and Associates to assist in their creation of a management district along the FM 1960 commercial corridor , between State Highway 249 and I-45. The district would focus on improving safety and appearance, through nuisance abatement, landscaping, and additional law enforcement.  
The Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce Working to Expand

The Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the fastest growing chambers in the State of Texas, with more than 650 members under the leadership of Don McCoy. Workforce needs are some of the biggest challenges business owners face.
Disaster Recovery Program | IEDC 

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is placing experienced economic development professionals as volunteers in economic development organizations throughout 
the region that can use expert input doing various
tasks such as: 
  • Attracting inward investment
  • Business outreach, retention and recovery 
  • Community outreach, finance, flood control and mitigation
  • Grant writing, strategic planning, and training/education
Thanks to U.S. Economic Development Administration funding, the volunteers-- who typically come for five days and then do supplementary work remotely--are completely free of charge to communities in the region.
For more information, contact  Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.
|CEDS Updates
December 2019 Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis

Hiring for the just-completed holiday shopping season boosted Houston-area employment numbers in December, but layoffs in key economic sectors could be a sign of a weakening job market. Overall employment grew by 2,500 jobs in December, with temporary holiday hiring in the Warehousing and Retail Trade subsectors doing most of the heavy lifting, said Workforce Solutions economist Parker Harvey. "Those two subsectors along with Wholesale trade added 7,000 jobs overall, just barely enough to overcome layoffs in oil and gas-related fields like Professional and Business Services and Mining and Logging." The Manufacturing sector also saw losses, primarily of durable goods related to oil and gas. Combined, the three sectors shed 5,200 workers last month. "The Mining and Logging sector, which is all the jobs related to the oilfield itself, fell for the second month in a row for a two-month combined loss of 2,900 jobs," Harvey said, adding that losses there create a cascade effect, "all the way down to Business and Professional services, so-called 'white color' jobs, which saw 3,600 people laid off in December." All of which, he said, is reflective of returning weakness in upstream oil and gas.

Unemployment in December remained steady at 3.6%. Seasonally adjusted unemployment remained unchanged at 3.6% as well, for the fifth month in a row. Harvey said it's the lowest level of unemployment the region as seen in 30 years.
| Funding Opportunities
Economic Development Administration Public Works Grants | Ongoing

The Economic Development Administration supports development in economically distressed areas of the United States by fostering job creation and attracting private investment. These Public Works Grants help communities build the infrastructure they need to support job growth and private investment. If you have an economic development infrastructure need in your community, contact Joshua Owens at 832.681.2613. Learn more.  
Environmental Protection Ageny Brownfield Grants | Ongoing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields. Brownfields are properties that have been contaminated by pollutants or hazardous waste. The EPA offers Area Wide Planning Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant Program | Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant program provides funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas.  The program has more than $2 billion available for rural communities to build or modernize education, health care, municipal and public safety facilities this fiscal year. Learn more.

Upcoming Developments 
American Furniture Warehouse bought a 30-acre tract in Conroe for a 443,375 square-foot store. The store will be located on the west side of I-45 at River Plantation. There is no timeline on construction yet for the project.
Cedar Port Logistics is a 644,000-square-foot industrial project being built within Cedar Port Industrial Park on the Grand Parkway near I-10. The project is expected to be complete in 2020.
The Landing at Augusta Woods broke ground at 7737 August Pines Drive in Spring. The 120-unit senior living community is set to open in 2021.

Museo Plaza will break ground in the Museum District on a mixed-use project. Phase 1 will consist of a $77 million, 364,000-square-foot, 10-story medical office at 5115 Fannin Street named Museo Plaza Medical Office Building. The project will break ground in February and will be complete in 2022.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake broke ground on the first phase of the hospital's expansion. Houston Methodist Clear Lake Medical Office Building will be a 158,000-square-foot, 6-story building at 18300 Houston Methodist Drive. The project is scheduled for completion in 2021.
A new retail development is underway at the corner of State Highway 290 and Dacoma Street. Brookhollow Marketplace will be a 200,000-square-foot shopping center on the site of the former Exxon Mobil Corporation Brookhollow campus. It is expected to open later in 2020.
The Exchange has broken ground at 1250 Leona Street. The 300-unit affordable housing complex is part of Hardy Yards, a 43-acre master-planned community.

Formally known as Regalia at the Park, the mid-rise apartment project is now called Sovereign at the Ballpark. The 229-unit complex will be located at the northeast corner of Crawford and Commerce. 

Mera Vintage Park is under construction at 14914 Vintage Preserve Parkway. The 179-unit, age-restricted apartment community is expected to open in late 2020.
Magnolia Place will be breaking ground between FM 1488, FM 149, and Spur 149 in the first quarter of 2020. The 120-acre mixed-use development will include an H-E-B, about 40,000 square feet of retail space, 14.6 acres of multi-family space, single-family homes and townhomes, and a gathering space in the center of the project.
The first mixed-use development in the city of Magnolia will break ground this spring. Magnolia Lights will be a $20 million, 5-story development. Four stories will consist of 131-unit luxury apartments in two separate buildings. One of the building's first floor will house a ground floor of retail. The project will be located on 2 acres between Goodson Road and LaRue, Gayle and Commerce streets. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

Compiled from reports in Community Impact Newspapers, Houston Business Journal, Houston Chronicle, and Texas A&M University Real Estate Center

Upcoming Events
February 19-21 |  Winter Conference   | TEDC | College Station

February 21 | Future of Texas | GHP | Houston
March 3 |  State of Houston's Petrochemical Industry | GHP | Houston
March 14-18 |  2020 Washington Conference   | NADO | Washington
April 25-28 | 2020 National Planning Conference | APA | Houston
April 27-30 | Broadband Communities 2020 Summit | Houston

May 8 | State of the City | GHP | Houston

The Economic Development Digest is published monthly by the