Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
Gulf Coast Economic Development District Board Meeting on April 9
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The Gulf Coast Economic Development District held a quarterly board meeting on April 9. Brett Perlman, CEO of the Center for Houston’s Future, presented on the energy transition in the Houston region. Dr. Margaret Cook, Research Associate at the Houston Advanced Research Center, shared insight to the winter storm power outages in February 2021 and recommendations for strengthening the power grid.

Visit the GCEDD webpage for previous meeting minutes, presentations, meeting recordings, and information about upcoming GCEDD board meetings. The next quarterly meeting will be July 9 at 10 a.m. on Zoom. Register here.
Broadband Planning Tool Launch Event on May 13
You are invited to A More Connected Region:
H-GAC’s Broadband Planning Tool launch event. The program will be on Zoom from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. on May 13. Register here.
 
Join us to:
  • Learn how to use H-GAC’s new broadband planning tool to implement broadband strategies and pursue funding
  • Hear success stories from around the region related to broadband infrastructure and increasing access to devices and service
Bringing Back Main Street Quarterly Roundtable on April 27
The Houston-Galveston Area Council's next Bringing Back Main Street roundtable will be Tuesday, April 27, at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be on Zoom, and attendees must register to attend. The theme is Designing Accessible Downtowns, and speakers will also address fair housing and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Speakers include:
  • Kori Allen, ADA & Capital Programs Coordinator, City of Coppell
  • Steven Rhea, Assistant City Manager, City of Friendswood
  • Jeff Riddle, Training Specialist, Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division
  • Daniel Bustamante, Executive Director, Greater Houston Fair Housing Center
  • Mallory Freitag, Program Administrator, Houston-Galveston Area Council
Governor’s Small Business Resource Portal Launched
In early April, the Office of Small Business Assistance launched the Governor's Small Business Resource Portal. Aspiring entrepreneurs or established business owners can answer five questions to generate a tailored resource list, including federal and state funding sources, business advice, and growth assistance. Results can be emailed or printed directly from the portal. 
April is Fair Housing Month
April is Fair Housing Month, and the Federal Fair Housing Act makes it against the law to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or family status. This applies to both selling or renting housing.

Anyone who feels their fair housing rights have been violated should contact the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing

The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are partnering to recognize Fair Housing Month in April with a series of fair housing training webinars. For more information, email FHEOI@tdhca.state.tx.us.
EDA Announces Winners of SPRINT Challenge
On April 6, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the FY 2020 Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge grantees. SPRINT Challenge awardees are leading projects that address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through innovative solutions.

In the H-GAC region, Houston Community College’s West Houston Institute (WHI) will establish a Crisis to Opportunity (C2O) Consortium that will provide short-term strategies for responding to the current crisis and long-term planning for community resilience through regional development. Learn more.
EDA Build to Scale Challenge Open until April 29
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The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for the Build to Scale program, a $38 million funding opportunity that fuels tech-based economic development in regional economies. 

The Notice of Funding Opportunity details two competitions: the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The Venture Challenge seeks to support high-growth entrepreneurship, accelerate company growth, and scale proven entrepreneurship support models. The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs. Cities, counties, other political subdivisions of states, nonprofit institutions of higher education, economic development organizations, and several other entities are eligible to apply. Applications are due April 29. 
Texas Mutual Insurance Company Awards Grants to Support Workforce Development, Job Seekers
Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation, has awarded a total of $385,000 to three Houston area nonprofits—BakerRipley Community Developers, United Way of Greater Houston, and UpSkill Houston. The grants will support workforce development, financial literacy, and immediate needs of communities with limited capacity. Learn more.
Local Disaster Damages Survey for Recent Winter Weather
The Texas Department of Emergency Management is encouraging Texans to complete a short survey via the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) to document experiences of recent winter weather. The objective of this survey is to identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials across the state gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent winter weather. Texans who are unable to submit information through the online iSTAT tool can call 844-844-3089 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week to submit their disaster damage information.
No-Cost Economic Development Professional Consultations Available through IEDC’s Disaster Recovery Program
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 can work remotely—are completely free of charge to communities in the region.

For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo.
Funding Opportunities
USDA Value Added Producer Grants
Deadline: April 29, 2021
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program funds can be used for planning activities (Planning Grants up to $75,000) or for working capital expenses (Working Capital Grants up to $250,000) related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include processing costs, marketing and advertising expenses, and some inventory and salary expenses. Learn more.

TPWD Farm and Ranchland Conservation Program
Deadline: April 30, 2021
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program protects working lands from fragmentation and development by maintaining and enhancing their ecological and agricultural productivity through agricultural conservation easements. Questions may be addressed to TexasFarmandRanch@tpwd.texas.gov. Learn more.

TDA Community Development Block Grant (TxCDBG) Funding Opportunities
Deadline: May 3, 2021
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Community Development Block Grant (TxCDBG) program helps small cities and rural communities provide housing and expand economic opportunities for persons of low- to moderate-income. The TxCDBG program funds utility infrastructure, disaster response, and unique local economic development projects. Applications are now open for the Community Development Fund and the Downtown Revitalization and Main Street Programs. Learn more.

USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program
Deadline: June 4, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas. Eligible applicants include most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. View a map of recently funded DLT projects. Awards range from $50,000 to $1,000,000. A minimum 15% match is required. Learn more.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation – RFPs for Economic Mobility Charitable Funding
Opening: May 31, 2021
Deadline: June 25, 2021
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation focuses on partnerships with nonprofit organizations addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility and social progress in low- and moderate-income communities. Their Economic Mobility funding opportunity seeks proposals from community partners on projects supporting affordable housing, small businesses, and neighborhood revitalization. Applicants must be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and not classified as a private foundation. Learn more.

2021 Port Infrastructure Development Grants
Deadline: July 30, 2021
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 appropriated $230 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program to make grants to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port. These funds are also are available to improve port facilities. The minimum grant award is $1,000,000. Learn more.

USDA Business & Industry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program
Deadline: September 15, 2021, or until funds are expended
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is offering loan guarantees to lenders for their loans to rural businesses and agricultural producers to supplement their working capital to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Learn more.

DOC RESTORE Act Direct Component—Construction and Non-Construction Activities, Gulf Coast Restoration  
Deadline: December 31, 2021 
U.S. Department of Commerce has extended the deadline for Gulf Coast Restoration projects. This announcement applies only to the Direct Component, for eligible construction and non-construction activities, including projects with or without a non-federal share for another federally funded project. This announcement also includes planning assistance needed to prepare the Multiyear Implementation Plan (Multiyear Plan) required by the RESTORE Act. Learn more

EDA Public Works Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) 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 Jillian Donatto at 631-897-3817. Learn more.   

USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development provides funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural communities can use these funds to build or modernize schools, health care clinics, libraries, and public safety facilities. Learn more.

EPA Brownfield Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields in your community. 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, Multipurpose Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
Regional Economic Trends
H-GAC has compiled regional economic indicators for the 13-county region, including monthly and yearly changes in unemployment rates, single and multi-family permits, and sales tax receipts. Download the PDF.

For more regional economic data visit:
Upcoming Developments
Google will invest $50 million in office and data center space in Texas. The company will open its first Houston office and continue to invest in its existing campuses in Austin. The new Houston office at 3663 Washington Avenue is expected to be finished by May 2021 with 60 to 70 new employees.
 
A 60-acre mixed-use development, known as Magnolia Village, is in the works at FM 1488 and Spur 149 in Magnolia. Phase 1 will include 36 acres of retail and office space and 300 multifamily housing units.
 
A three-story multifamily development project has broken ground in the master-planned community Harvest Green in Richmond. The 324-unit project at 4647 Harvest Corner Drive is expected to open later this year. 
 
A mixed-income apartment complex has broken ground at 2400 W. Dallas Street. The 367-unit, 5-story multifamily development is scheduled for completion in early 2023.
 
A five-story, 270,000-square-foot building will break ground this year on 53 acres near the Texas Medical Center. The building will be part of Phase 1 of Levit Green, a life sciences district that will include up to 4 million square feet of lab-centric mixed-use space. The project is located near Holcombe Boulevard and State Highway 288 and the building is expected to be complete in 2022. 
 
Fort Bend Epicenter, a 230,000-square-foot multipurpose facility will soon break ground on 51 acres in Fort Bend County. The $120 million facility will be near the southwest corner of US 59/I-69 and State Highway 36 in Rosenberg. It is expected to be completed in late 2022.
 
Construction has started on a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center for Floor and Décor. The project will be within the TGS Cedar Port Industrial on the corner of Cedar Parkway and Fisher Road. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 
 
The Reserve at Baybrook will be at 19302 Glenwest Drive in Friendswood. The multi-family project will consist of 291 units and is expected to open in 2022.
 
Point West Distribution is under construction on 10.5 acres at 32303 US 90 in Brookshire. The 133,900-square-foot facility is scheduled for completion at the end of the year. 
 
The West Gulf Bank Distribution Center has broken ground at 9700 W. Gulf Bank Road. The 115,000-square-foot distribution center will be complete later this year. 
 
Northwood Apartments has broken ground at 12620 Eastex near Shelvin Acres and Humble to replace housing lost during Hurricane Harvey. The 288-unit project is expected to be complete in 2022. 
 
Seton Lake Logistics Center is under construction at Seton Lake Drive and State Highway 249. The 255,704-square-foot industrial project is expected to be complete in October. 
 
Eastfield at Baybrook, a retail center, is planned at the intersection of Interstate 45 and El Dorado Boulevard. The first phase of the project will include 30,000 square feet of retail and a 106,000-square-foot H-E-B. It is expected to open in late 2021. 
 
Italy-based 3D printing systems company, Roboze, announced plans to open their new U.S. headquarters in Houston. The company expects to hire more than 100 employees in the next two years.
 
Compiled from information in Community Impact Newspapers, the Houston Business Journal, the Houston Chronicle, Innovation Map, TCT Magazine, and the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.
Upcoming Events
Webinars:

 

 
 
 
 







 

Courses:

 
 


Conferences: 

April 21-23 | Save the Date: Outlook for Texas Land Markets Conference | TAMU Real Estate Research Center 
 
April 22-23 | Spring Opportunity Zones Virtual Conference | NOVOGRADAC
 
 
Sept 27-30 | 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference | EPA & ICMA 

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Gulf Coast Economic Development District | 713-627-3200

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