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Northeast Houston on brink of explosive growth

According to a recent article by Houston Business Journal, the northeast side of Houston is on the brink of explosive growth.

Cara Smith reported:

The northeast Houston corridor is growing rapidly. Commercial heavyweights and trendsetters such as San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Co., Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System and Washington-based Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) have all either recently bought land or established themselves in the area.

“For the last several years, (we’ve) felt we were the best-kept secret in the Houston metro area,” said Heath Rushing, trustee on the Humble Independent School District board and CEO of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital in Humble. “The growth is coming. It’s very real.”

Land in northeast Houston is cheaper and more bountiful, too, which has led to more developers eyeing the area. Couple that with a population that’s geting wealthier, and it’s a perfect setup for development. Data from Metrostudy, a housing research firm, shows that northeast Houston’s wealthiest residents will make up a larger percentage of the area’s population in 2020 than it ever has.

Perhaps most critical to the area’s historic growth is its freeway access, though. Northeast Houston’s infrastructure attracts workers who commute to the Port, downtown and more. From an ingress and egress perspective, it creates some of the most attractive plots of land in Houston.

“You’ve got the Beltway system that gets you to the Port quickly, you’ve got Interstate 59 that gets you to downtown quickly, and the Grand Parkway … can get from 59 North to 59 South without having to compete with downtown traffic,” Rushing said. “First and foremost, that’s a big reason why we’ve seen the growth.”

Houston’s next employment hub

Historically speaking, northeast Houston has been all rooftops and little commercial. It hasn’t had a central employment core, unlike other outer-Loop hubs such as The Woodlands and Katy.

Many residents in northeast Houston are commuting to jobs that don’t exist in their neighborhoods. While the area does have some sizeable employers, such as Insperity Inc. (NYSE: NSP) in Kingwood and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, it pales in comparison to similar suburbs, such as north Houston, which encompasses Exxon Mobil’s (NYSE: XOM) massive new campus as well as several energy employers in The Woodlands.

Enter Generation Park, Houston-based McCord Development’s 4,000-acre business park located off Beltway 8 near West Lake Houston Parkway. Generation Park has been described as a game-changing development among industry experts. Houston-based FMC Technologies Inc. bought 173 acres in the park in 2014 and plans to consolidate its 10 Houston-area offices into the park over the next decade. McCord is also in the early phases of developing Redemption Square within Generation Park, a mixed-use project that will include 85,000 square feet of Class A office space, additional retail space and a Courtyard Marriott hotel. San Jacinto College is building on 57 acres in the park; Lone Star College is building a Process Technology Center on 8 acres in the park.

In the coming years, Generation Park could become northeast Houston’s Central Business District, said Lawrence Dean, a senior adviser with Metrostudy.

“If (Generation Park) is successful, and I think it will be, that will help create a local employment housing demand generator,” Dean said.