Economic Development Digest 
| Economic Development News
$1 Billion Investment Brings World-Scale Ammonia Production Facility to Galveston County and Greater Houston

Gulf Coast Ammonia LLC (GCA), Air Products, and Eastman Chemical Company announced final financing agreements have been reached to build the world's largest single-train ammonia synthesis loop in Texas City. This facility will provide roughly 1.3 million tons of ammonia per year (about 9% of the world's supply) when it opens in 2023. GCA is investing $600 million toward the construction, operation, and ownership of the ammonia plant. Air Products is investing $500 million toward the development of the company's largest steam methane reformer for production of hydrogen, a build-out of its world's largest hydrogen pipeline to connect to Texas City, the construction of an air separation unit to supply nitrogen, and operation of a steam turbine generator to provide utilities to GCA's ammonia plant.
Supporting Small Manufacturers- Kinder Institute Report

Join the Gulf Coast Economic Development District for our first quarterly meeting of 2020 at 10 a.m. Friday, January 31, at 10 am at H-GAC. The Kinder Institute will present on their recent research on the small manufacturing sector. Small manufacturers make up a quarter of the manufacturing sector and have potential to be significant employers with targeted programming, robust financing opportunities, and strategic long-term planning.
General Land Office Launches Economic Recovery Program

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) launched Texas Back in Business, a $100 million economic revitalization program for small businesses impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The program provides grants from $50,000 to $250,000 to small businesses for hiring, training, operating capital, machinery, equipment, supplies, or inventory. The application period is through February 2020.  

The GLO will present on the program and be available to answer questions at the Gulf Coast Economic Development District meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, January 31.  
Bringing Back Main Street

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 next Bringing Back Main Street roundtable will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 28, at the Dayton Community Center, 801 S. Cleveland, Dayton. The topic will be How Small Cities Are Raising Development Standards for Future Growth.  
Retail Occupancy Rate Hit 95% in 2019

In a report by Weitzman, Houston retail construction fell from 2.7 million square feet in 2018 to 1.6 million square feet overall in 2019. With less new space available, the market ended the year with a 95% occupancy rate and steady interest in retail space across the metro region, which is expected to continue into 2020.
RFP Pearland Economic Development Corporation

The Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) issued a Request for Proposals to consulting teams specializing in community-centric retail analysis, measuring the retail market and its sales, competition, leakage, gaps, and consumer preferences. Land development knowledge and experience is a plus. Prospect recruitment planning is also included. The deadline to submit a response is Friday, January 31.
keyboard-abstract-blue.jpg Wharton County Releases Broadband Survey

Wharton County is acting to improve high-speed internet (broadband) connections for residents and businesses in the county. Wharton County launched a broadband survey with Connected Nation to determine the community's internet needs. Surveys for Liberty and Walker counties will launch in 2020. 
Cleveland Seeking Economic Development Director

The Cleveland (Texas) Economic Development Corporation is seeking an Economic Development Director. The new Director would be an ambassador to major industrial, heavy commercial, and warehousing enterprises.  
Setting the Stage for Talent-Driven Economic Development

Workforce capabilities far surpass any other driver of economic development, according to a recently released Brookings Metro report. The report makes the case that Economic Development Organizations need to reorient and expand their capabilities by generating talent intelligence, developing talent incentives, and supporting talent systems.
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
November 2019 Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis 

Houston-area employers added more than 19,000 jobs in November, exceeding the historical average monthly gain of 11,500 jobs. Eight out of ten of those jobs were added in the Trade, Transportation, & Utilities sector, which tracks retail, warehousing, and related industries. The warehousing subsector added 4,100 jobs in November, its largest one-month gain on record. Jobs related to wholesale trading also posted a one-month record of 3,100 additional jobs. Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment ticked slightly higher in November to 3.6%, up one-tenth of report from October.
| Funding Opportunities
EPA 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.

Economic Opportunity Challenge | January 28

In the United States, many families face extensive barriers to achieve success. The Economic Opportunity Challenge aims to build a more vibrant economic ecosystem by scaling an impactful, evidence-based solution that sustainably creates economic opportunity for low-income families. The Economic Opportunity Challenge is a public competition launched with the support of Lever for Change to award $10 million to the most scalable, transformative, and proven solution aimed to meaningfully expand economic opportunity for low-income individuals in the US. This opportunity is for nonprofits with annual budget of $1 million or more. Learn more

Upcoming Developments 
A six-story office building is under construction in The Woodlands. The 140,000-square-foot office building will be at 9709 Lakeside Blvd. on the Research Lakeside campus. Once built out, the campus will feature nine office buildings for a total of 1.82 million square feet of office space. The new office building is expected to be completed in 2020.

Ella West Crossing, a 221,393-square-fooot industrial property, has broken ground in the Pinto Business Park near the Bush Intercontinental Airport and I-45. The project is expected to be complete in the summer of 2020.

Corporate Center Fannin will consist of Fannin I and Fannin II, 219,000-square-foot and 152,000-square-foot buildings, respectively. The 18.6-acre master-planned business park is scheduled to open during the summer in 2020.

The first phase of Boulevard Oaks Business Park, which features four buildings for a total of 450,000 square feet, is complete. The second phase will include six buildings totaling over 1 million square feet. Once the third phase it is completed, the business park will consist of 10 industrial buildings, totaling about 1.6 million square feet. The business park is at 5615 Fuqua Street.

Gatherings at Westview, a new condominium community for residents age 55 and older, broke ground last month. The 203,367-square-foot project will consist of three four-story condo buildings, each with 27 units. The community will be at 6804 Westview.

Two Hermann Place will break ground early in 2020 next to Hermann Park at 1661 Hermann Drive. The new 32-story tower will include 295 units and 18,000 square feet of amenities. The new luxury apartment project is expected to open in 2022.

The Canopy at Springwoods plans to break ground this month on Spring Stuebner Road., close to I-45. The new residential project will feature 332 units and is expected to be complete in 2021.

Mera Vintage Park is under construction at 14914 Vintage Preserve Parkway. The age-restricted community will feature 179 units on 8 acres. The project is expected to open in late 2020.

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

Upcoming Events
January 15 | Workforce Development Strategies| IEDC | Webinar
January 22 | Rural Broadband- Financing the Last Mile| TEDC | Webinar
January 23 | Arts & Economic Development| IEDC | Webinar
February 6-7 | Economic Development Strategic Planning | IEDC | Tampa
February 19-21 | Winter Conference | TEDC | College Station
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

The Economic Development Digest is published monthly by the

Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons Lane, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77027
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