Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable on July 27
Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 27. The event will be online, and registration is required. The topic will be How Local Food Fuels Your Economy and will look at the economic impact of food trucks, farmers markets, and restaurants in rural and small towns.
H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas. For more information, contact Sarah Torresen at 832-681-2505.
NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Notice of Funding Opportunity Announced
U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the availability of nearly $1 billion in grants to expand broadband access and adoption on Tribal land. Grants will be made available to eligible Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian entities for broadband deployment as well as for digital inclusion, workforce development, tele-health and distance learning.

More information about the program can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. NTIA is also hosting a series of webinars: the next Tribal Broadband Connectivity webinars will be held on June 16 and 17.
Grant Funding for Community Navigators Pilot Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration's Community Navigator Pilot Program is open to applications from nonprofit organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments. Selected partners will engage in targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities—including micro and rural businesses, with emphasis on those owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals—to help secure the resources and support they need to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million. Applications are due July 12, 2021.
NRG Energy Designates Houston as Sole Headquarters
Fortune 500 company NRG Energy has officially designated Houston as its new sole headquarters location and will relocate its base from Princeton, New Jersey. The company cited the diversity of Houston’s professional talent among the key factors driving the decision.
Learn How to Apply to the Skills Development Fund
The Texas Workforce Commission’s Skills Development Fund (SDF) is Texas' premier upskilling program. The SDF program provides grants to help companies, in partnership with local community colleges, technical schools and workforce boards, receive no-cost customized job training for their workforce. To find out more about the program and how to apply, please contact the SDF team at (877) 463-1777 or [email protected].

The Texas Workforce Commission is also hosting a webinar on June 16. Learn how to leverage the SDF in partnership to offer customized training plans to businesses interested in expanding or relocating to your community.
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 Jillian Donatto.
Funding Opportunities
Bank of America Charitable Foundation – RFPs for Economic Mobility Charitable Funding
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.

USDA High Energy Cost Grants
Deadline: July 6, 2021
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grants assist energy providers and other eligible entities in lowering energy costs for families and individuals in areas with extremely high per-household energy costs (275 percent of the national average or higher). Funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Learn more.

Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grants
Deadline: July 12, 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program makes competitive awards for surface transportation infrastructure projects. Funds can be used for capital investments or planning projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. Eligible applicants include local governments, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, and other political subdivisions of state or local governments. The maximum request is $25 million. The minimum request is $5 million, or $1 million for rural projects. Learn more.

USDA-NRCS Community Compost & Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project
Deadline: July 16, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), under the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP), is soliciting applications from local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2021. Awards are for amounts ranging between $45,000 and $90,000. Learn more.

EPA Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program
Deadline: July 23, 2021
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program makes investment in critical water infrastructure through innovative and flexible financing that can support a wide range of projects in both large and small communities. For FY 2021, EPA has approximately $5.5 billion for in WIFIA financing. A letter of intent to apply is due by July 23. 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 (DOC) 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
Phase 1 of Medical Center of Tomball broke ground last month off Highway 249 at 155 School Street. The 64,395-square-foot, three-story medical office building is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. 
Work is underway at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center with a 365,000-square-foot medical office building. The building is expected to be complete in 2022.
The Watermark at Houston Heights is planned between TC Jester Boulevard and Durham Drive at 1245 W. 18th Street. The seven-story, 169,000-square-foot senior living facility will have 222 residences. The project is expected to be completed early 2022.
Houston Methodist has plans to build its ninth campus along Highway 290, between Barker Cypress and Skinner roads in Cypress. The new campus will consist of 400 beds and multiple medical office buildings. The hospital project is expected to open in 2024 and employ more than 500 people. 
A Home Depot Regional Distribution Center is under construction at 1776 E. Davis Street in Conroe. The 600,000-square-foot project is scheduled to be complete in July and open in the fall. 
San Estrella broke ground in the Energy Corridor near the northwest corner of Eldridge Parkway and Westheimer Road. The 318-unit, four-story multifamily development will be at 13475 Rincon Drive and is expected to be complete in 2022.
Collins Aerospace is planning a 116,000-square-foot facility on approximately 8 acres at the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Field. The facility will employ 250 engineers and technicians. Construction is expected to start this year and be complete within 24 months. Axion is also planning a 430,000-square-foot facility at Houston Spaceport. The facility will start construction by the first quarter of 2022 and be complete within 24 months. It is expected to employ around 1,000 people. 
Work is underway on Business Center at Five Corners along Beltway 8, near Hiram Clarke Road between South Post Oak and Almeda roads. The five-building industrial park is expected to be completed early 2022. Buildings will range from 68,000 square feet to 138,000 square feet, totaling 542,090 square feet. 

Compiled from information in Community Impact Newspapers, the Houston Business Journal, and the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.
Upcoming Events

June 17 | Recreation Nation | IEDC
June 18 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA
June 23 | Economy Series: Energy | GHP
June 23, 24 | Connecting Minority Communities Session 3a, 3b | NTIA
July 2 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA
July 15 | On Talent Attraction | IEDC
July 16 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA
July 28, 29 | Connecting Minority Communities Session 4a, 4b | NTIA

July 30 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA
August 12 | Membership 101 | GHP
August 13 – 27 | ED Sales Tax – Virtual | TEDC


Sept 27-30 | 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference | EPA & ICMA | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Nov 11-12 | Texas Municipal League Economic Development Conference | TML | Bastrop, Texas
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Gulf Coast Economic Development District | 713-627-3200

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