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Scenic Houston Streetscape Resource Guide
Scenic Houston's Streetscape Resource Guide Now Available
At the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) meeting on January 20, Sherry Weesner, the Director of Projects for Scenic Houston, presented their work to promote streetscape and gateway corridors that are as attractive as they are functional. Using its Streetscape Resource Guide as the basis, Scenic Houston works with public sector, private sector, and neighborhood stakeholders to promote enhanced streetscape design standards. Scenic Houston's signature projects include the landscaped revitalization of Broadway Street leading to Hobby Airport, a long-range Airport Corridor Improvement Initiative, and the statewide Scenic City Certification Program.
Google Put Cities on the Map Graphic
Google Initiative:
Let's Put Our Cities on the Map
Google's Let's Put Our Cities on the Map initiative aims to help local businesses increase their presence online. Google has teamed with the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, the University of Houston Small Business Development Center, and the Houston Galveston Women's Business Center with the focus of getting local business information online and on the map. More information is available in the presentation delivered to the GCEDD on January 20. 
Bringing Back Main Street Logo
Revitalization Roundtable Planned for April 25 
The next H-GAC Bringing Back Main Street Revitalization Roundtable will be from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 25, at Caney Creek Church, 118 West Milam St., Wharton. The topic is leveraging historic preservation as part of downtown revitalization efforts and will include a short walking tour. These roundtables help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economy and revitalization of downtown areas. Register here. For more information, contact Clint McManus at 832-681-2513.
Economic Development Campaign Continues for Northwest Houston Communities
According to the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce has raised $615,000 in its Grow Northwest campaign to expand economic development and better brand the community. The objective of this initiative is to build the economic health and wealth of the northwest Harris County area as measured by increasing employment opportunities and taxable property values.
North Houston Regional Center for Economic Development Announces Interim Director
The North Houston Regional Center for Economic Development (NHRCED) announces Elizabeth Balderrama as interim director. The NHRCED, a division of Lone Star College, works in collaboration with regional economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, business and industry, and government agencies and officials to help ensure the region continues to provide value and profitability to businesses seeking to relocate or expand here.
Economic Outlook Trends Upward
At the Houston West Chamber of Commerce's West Houston Economic Development Summit on February 10, business leaders gathered to review the economic outlook for west Houston. As reported by the Houston Chronicle, home building is returning and businesses are continuing to open, especially along the Grand Parkway.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Actions

The following articles highlight actions underway or available for the region to advance the strategies and actions in the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).

Critical Regional Freight Corridors Map
Greater Houston Freight Committee
The Greater Houston Freight Committee Critical Urban Corridors Working Group held a meeting on December 6, 2016, to decide on a path forward for improving freight corridors in the region. Under the National Highway Freight Program, H-GAC will designate local Critical Urban Freight Corridors, and once approved by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the roadway will become eligible for the National Highway Freight Program. The maps of critical freight corridors, a listing of critical freight corridors, and the presentation given at the meeting are all available for review.        
Daikin Receives Workforce Solutions Grant
Daikin Industries Ltd., in conjunction with Lone Star College and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), received a training grant to enhance employees' skills in advanced manufacturing techniques. Workforce Solutions offers grants at no cost to employers to train new full time employees that involve new technologies, production, service, or additional skills.
Upcoming Events
Funding Opportunities
TDA Texas Capital Fund Infrastructure and Real Estate Program
The 2017 application and guide are now available for the Texas Department of Agriculture's (TDA) Texas Capital Fund Infrastructure Development and Real Estate programs. The programs are economic development tools designed to provide financial resources to non-entitlement communities. Funds from the infrastructure program can be used for public infrastructure needed to assist a business that commits to create and/or retain permanent jobs, primarily for low- and moderate- income people. Funds from the real estate program must be used for real estate development to assist a business that commits to create and/or retain permanent jobs, primarily for low- and moderate- income people. The real estate and/or improvements must be owned by the community and leased to the business. These programs encourage new business development and expansions. Applications are due on the 20th of each month.

EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting grant applications to provide investments that support construction, nonconstruction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA's Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to forward economic prosperity in distressed communities. There are no submission deadlines under this opportunity. Proposals and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the publication of a new funding opportunity notice.

H-GAC's Community Enhancement Grants are designed to help municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations enhance public spaces, such as gateways, parks, waterfronts, and business districts. 

The SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction, and equipment purchases.  

The EDA Business Loan Fund assists businesses in areas impacted by Hurricane Ike.  

The EDA Government Loan Fund assists government in areas impacted by Hurricane Ike.
Upcoming Developments
MetroPark Square is Shenandoah's new mixed-use development. A total of 69 acres will be built in phases and completed by 2020. It includes 175,000 square feet of restaurants and retail and will be anchored by AMC-10. A four-story, 325-unit apartment complex and two hotels are expected to be up by early 2019. The last phase will feature 600 additional multi-family units, a full-service hotel, and an office building. MetroPark Square will also include a pavilion and outdoor event space for families.

HISD's $40 million High School for Law and Justice broke ground October 2016. The three-story, 115,000-square-footbuilding is located on Scott Street between Pease and Coyle streets. The buildings will include a courtroom and crime scene investigations lab. It is slated to be finished in December 2017.

Central Automotive Group broke ground on Central Houston Nissan, scheduled for completion by early 2018 at 2901 South Loop West, at the present dealership. The $40 million, 160,000-square foot project is promoted as Nissan's largest facility in the world. The dealership will employ more than 200 people.

Ravago Americas purchased 200 acres in the TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park in Baytown. The initial phase will include a distribution and manufacturing campus about 1.5 million square feet.

University of Houston System completed a purchase of 46 acres for a new campus in Katy. UHS University Park will be at the northeast corner of Interstate 10 and the Grand Parkway. Phase one will include an 80,000-square-foot building and will open in the fall 2019. The master plan includes 500,000 square feet of space.

Midway is developing Buffalo Heights, a mixed use development at the corner of Washington Avenue and South Heights Boulevard. Plans for phase one include a 96,000-square-foot H-E-B, a five-story, 232-unit apartment complex, 37,000 square feet of office space, and about 2,000 square feet of retail.

Commercial and residential construction is progressing at Miramesa. Located at the intersection of Fry and West roads in Cypress, Miramesa was one of several master-planned communities in the area moving forward with major single-family construction plans in 2016. A total of 659 lots are planned, according to officials with developer Land Tejas. Once completed, the community will feature 1,400 lots across 600 acres.

Compiled from reports in the Houston Business Journal, Houston Chronicle, and Houston Community Impact Newspaper.
The Economic Development Digest is published quarterly by the
Gulf Coast Economic Development District.  

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