Economic Development Digest 
| Economic Development News
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General Land Office Launches Economic Recovery Program

The Texas General Land Office 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.  
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. 
$200 Million State Highway 36 Expansion Set to Begin

Work is set to start on improvements and expansions to State Highway 36, connecting the Port of Freeport to Interstate 10 and State Highway 290. The projects total approximately $200 million and will widen parts of State Highway 36 in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.
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.  
Region's Economy Anticipates Slow Growth in 2020

The risk of a U.S. recession is elevated, according to economists; even if a recession is not on the way, the region's economy will most likely slow down in 2020 due to the low prices for oil and natural gas. The health care sector will drive the region's job growth in 2020 as many of the region's hospital systems are working on large-scale facility expansion projects. 
Houston City Council Backs Maker Space Expansion

TXRX Labs and Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation received approval from Houston City Council for $24 million in federal funding for the construction of the East End Maker Hub. The East End Maker Hub will allow businesses and start-ups to rent space in a 300,000-square-foot facility. 
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
October Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis 

Houston-area employers added more than 28,000 jobs in October, with strong hiring in five of the eleven industry super sectors, Workforce Solutions announced today. "This seems a little high to me," said Workforce Solutions Economist Parker Harvey, pointing to the seasonally adjusted figure which shows just 8,000 jobs were added between September and October. "That's the second-widest gap between the two figures, so it's possible October will be adjusted downward when the hard data comes in." Employers in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector, which includes retail and wholesale jobs, added 6,200 individuals to their payrolls last month as companies staffed up for the holiday sales season. "October marks the beginning of a three-month trend in hiring for the sector, which lasts through early December," Harvey said. "This sector typically adds 2,800 jobs during October, so this is well above the long-term average." 
| Funding Opportunities
Smart Rural Community Grant | December 31, 2019

The Smart Rural Community (SRC) Grant is an annual opportunity for rural broadband providers to obtain grants to deploy broadband-enabled solutions within their community. Matching-fund obligations require local communications providers to recruit the participation of other local leaders. Learn more.

EPA Broadband 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, 2020

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 
Ground has been broken on the southwest corner of West Dallas and Dunlavy on a 600-unit apartment complex. The six-story complex along with 50,000 square feet of retail are part of the latest phase of Regent Square, a 24-acre development. The latest phase is expected to be completed in two years.

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center is expanding with an eight-floor, 332,510-square-foot tower. The $250 million South Tower will include 36-bed patient care unit, six new operating rooms and other features. The new tower will be on the south side of the medical center and is expected to open in 2022.

A new 2 million-square-foot Ross distribution facility will be built across the Uplands at Twinwood Business Park in Waller County. The distribution is expected to bring 1,300 jobs to Brookshire after its opening in 2021.
A new 170,000-square-foot building will replace the old University of Houston Law Center. The building will cost $90 million and is expected to be complete by 2022.

The Allen broke ground at Gillette Street and Allen Parkway. The mixed-use development will feature 99-unit condominiums, a Thompson-branded luxury hotel, an office building and retail spaces. The project is expected to open in 2021, and the hotel is expected to deliver in 2023.
Green Oaks Apartments, an affordable multifamily project, broke ground at 1475 Gears Road, Houston. The $21.4 million project is planned to open in 2021.
Saint Thomas' Episcopal School and Church broke ground on a 78,000-square-foot academic building last month. The campus is at 4900 Jackwood Street, Houston. The project will cost $29 million and should be complete in 2021.
Empire West Business Park will be located at the northwest corner of I-10 and Woods Road, Brookshire. The first phase will feature two 150,000-square-foot buildings and a 750,000-square-foot building. Phase one will begin construction in 2020.
Two apartment complexes opened in Katy early November. Broadstone Market Station is at 24002 Colonial Parkway. The 329-unit complex will be complete in summer 2020. The Maddox is at 1330 Park West Green Drive and will feature 326 units.  It will also be complete in 2020

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

Upcoming Events
December 13 | Sales Tax Workshop | TEDC | Austin

December 18 | Rural Broadband- Financing the Last Mile | TEDC | Webinar
December 19 | Year in Review: Interpreting Your Results | IEDC | Webinar
January 8 | Rural Broadband- Financing the Last Mile | IEDC | Webinar
January 22 | Rural Broadband- Financing the Last Mile | TEDC | Webinar
February 19-21 | Winter Conference | TEDC | Webinar
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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