Economic Development Digest 
| Economic Development News
Gulf Coast Economic Development District Quarterly Meeting Recap
On July 10, the GCEDD held its quarterly meeting virtually. Parker Harvey, Principal Economist at the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, presented data on the impacts of COVID-19 on the regional labor market. H-GAC's Pramod Sambidi presented on the impacts of COVID-19 on sales tax revenue. Janna Hoglund with the Harris County Public Library presented about the Tomball Innovation Lab model. All presentations can be accessed online, along with a recording of the meeting. The GCEDD Board directors also approved the Regional High-Speed Internet Strategy, which will be presented to the H-GAC Board of Directors for approval. The next GCEDD meeting will be on October 2.
Regional Economic Indicators Related to COVID-19 Impacts on the Region
The Socioeconomic Modeling Program staff at the Houston-Galveston Area Council prepared an economic indicator report on the impact of COVID-19 in the region. Indicators include unemployment, residential activity, commercial office, retail, and industrial activity, airport activity, tax records, hospital statistics, and mobility statistics.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable - July 28
H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on July 28. The roundtable will be held as a webinar. The topic is How Strategic Investments Enhance Downtown Revitalization.
The roundtable will include presentations from:
  • Scenic Houston
  • City of Brenham
  • City of Lake Jackson 
  • City of Sealy
  • City of Columbus
H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
City of Waller Economic Development Featured in BizNow Houston
A recent profile of the City of Waller tracked major economic development advances over the past several years. The rapid industrial growth in the past decade, as well as the prospect of new residential and business development like Beacon Hill, will likely change Waller's rural, small-town character. Mayor Danny L. Marburger and John Isom, Director of the Waller Economic Development Corporation, are advocating for incremental and sustainable growth, with more families and community-oriented businesses accompanying the influx of large developments and manufacturers. Read the full article.  
Equity and Inclusion Strategies from IEDC's Economic Development Research Partners Program
Four months after declaring COVID-19 a national emergency, the United States continues to deal with the pandemic's health, economic, and social consequences. For Black Americans, all three of these crises are compounded by systemic racism and inequity. What are Economic Development Organizations doing to make a difference?
The Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP) program of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) takes stock in the sixth and final brief in its Leader Series. Published on July 2, the brief offers guidelines for economic development organizations working on incorporating racial inclusiveness and equity into their practices moving forward. 
Opportunity Zones Toolkit Volume 2 Available to Guide Local Economic Development Planning
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recently issued a second volume of the Opportunity Zones Toolkit: A Guide to Local Best Practices and Case Studies. The guide is intended for local leaders to use when developing and implementing economic development strategies to leverage their Opportunity Zone designations. Volume 2 builds on the roadmap established in Volume 1 by providing more detailed information and illustrative examples. In the Houston-Galveston region there are 161 census tracts designated as Opportunity Zones across 11 counties. More than 777,700 people in the region live in Opportunity Zones, which cover a land area of 3,459 square miles. Explore opportunity zone census tracts in the region.
Our Town Creative Placemaking Grants from The National Endowment for the Arts
Our Town Creative Placemaking Grants from the National Endowment of the Arts make project-based funding available for projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. These projects require a partnership between a local government entity and a nonprofit organization, one of which must be a cultural organization; and should engage in partnership with other sectors, such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, or workforce development. Applications are due August 6. 
Council of Development Finance Agencies Announces Initiative to Unlock Lending for Communities of Color
A $145,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable a Council of Development Finance Agencies study on the market demand and feasibility of a national loan guarantee program serving communities of color affected by COVID-19. A program of this nature would decrease lending bias and expand the impact of loan funds operated by Development Finance Agencies by opening up capital to businesses and communities less likely to be served by federal stimulus efforts and other traditional funding streams. More information can be found in CDFA's July 15 press release.
Harris County Small Business Recovery Fund Open for Applications Through July 24
The Harris County Small Business Recovery Fund program is designed to assist small businesses operating in Harris County that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. $30 million in grant funding is available through the CARES Act. Eligible businesses can obtain grants up to $25,000 to support their ongoing operations and to help business owners stay afloat as Harris County continues to fight the coronavirus crisis. A subset of randomly selected applicants will receive grants; it is not first come, first serve. Apply until July 24 at or call 713-845-2476 for information.
Application Remains Open for EDA CARES Act Funding
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) continues to accept applications for CARES Act supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Funds are available through the 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity (FY20 PWEAA NOFO, see page 46). The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will be working to provide technical assistance for applicants. E-mail Josh Owens with any questions.
Texas General Land Office Logo
Applications Open for Nearly $1.2 Billion in Mitigation Project Funding for Texas
The Texas General Land Office is accepting applications for its Competition Applications for the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program. More information is available in the Application Guide, and the Application Portal can be found online. 

H-GAC is available to provide data and technical assistance to its members on their applications and in coordinating the development of projects involving multiple jurisdictions. Contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653 or if you have any questions or would like to request assistance.
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 can work remotely--are completely free of charge to communities in the region.
For more information, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.
| Funding Opportunities
Economic Development Administration Public Works Grant | Ongoing
The Economic Development Administration 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 Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613. Learn more. 

Environmental Protection Ageny Brownfield Grants | Ongoing
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields. Brownfields are properties that are 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 still available for rural communities to build or modernize education, health care, municipal and public safety facilities this fiscal year. Learn more.

Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) | Ongoing
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans help rural families and small businesses achieve cost savings by providing loans to qualified consumers to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency measures. A Letter of Intent is required. Learn more.

USDA Business Cooperative Development Grant | August 3, 2020
The USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program improves the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers. Grants are awarded to nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education. Learn more.

USDA Community Prosperity Funding |  August 24, 2020
Community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities may apply for Community Prosperity funding from the US Department of Agriculture for projects that provide outreach, education and training in agriculture, conservation, agribusiness, and forestry, with a focus on economic and workforce development, innovation and technology, and quality of life through food and agriculture. Learn more.

USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development (EWD)  | Deadline: September 24, 2020
In FY 2020, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has added a new area under AFRI's Education and Workforce Development (EWD) Program to support the Agricultural Workforce Training (AWT) Grants program. The program seeks to develop new workforce training programs and expand, improve, or renew existing workforce training programs at community, junior, and technical colleges/institutes. This program aims to expand job-based, experiential learning opportunities for students to enable a technology and data savvy workforce for 21st century agricultural jobs. Learn more.

Community Development Block Grants Mitigation (CDBG-MIT)  | October 28
The Community Development Block Grants Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program will provide funds to cities, counties, Indian Tribes, and councils of governments to address risks in HUD- and state-designated Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas. Three competition applications are open: the 2015 Floods and 2016 Floods State Mitigation Competitions and the Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition. Eligible applicants and examples of eligible projects are posted on the General Land Office website. More detail can be found in the CDBG-MIT Competition Application Guide.

Business & Industry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program | September 21, 2020
U.S. Department of Agriculture 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.
Upcoming Developments 
Telge 290 Logistics Center has completed construction in Cypress. The 207,635- square-foot industrial building is located at 14803 Cypress North Houston Road, just a few miles east of Highway 290. 
Amazon Inc has started construction on an 850,000-square-foot fulfillment center southwest of Houston. The project is being built on 93.5 acres at 10507 Harlem Road in Richmond. It is expected to create 1,000 jobs in 2021 when it opens. 
A five-story medical office building is under construction at 7500 Fannin Street. The 116,500-square-foot building is part of an expansion of HCA Houston Healthcare's Woman's of Texas campus. Completion is planned in December 2021.
A three-story, 336-unit multifamily project will be built on 13 acres on Saint Nicholas Place, located at 12115 Main Street. Saint Nicholas Place campus is expected to break ground this fall.
New Hope Housing broke ground on an affordable housing project in the East End. The 100-unit project named Avenue J will be located at 5220 Avenue J. 
Empire West Business Park broke ground in Brookshire along Interstate 10 and U.S. 90, just west of Woods Road. The industrial development is expected to complete the first three buildings, totaling 1 million square feet, in 2021.
Wet Sounds is planning a 118,386-square-foot warehouse on 27 acres in Rosenberg. The project will be located at 2975 Louise Street and will include 280,000 square feet for future development. The warehouse will create 50 jobs and is expected to be completed in 2021.
Several multifamily projects are expected to open this summer. Ivy Point Cypress, a senior living project with 136 units, is set to open in July. Starwood Farms will be done with first phase this summer and will total 244 townhomes on Telge Road by the end of its second phase. Winward at Telge Crossing, a 303-unit on Telge and Jarvis Road is expected to be complete in early 2021, but the first units are expected to be available in August.

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

Upcoming Events

July 22| Toolkit for a Resilient Recovery | Global Resilient Cities Network
August 4 | Houston Facts | GHP
August 5-6 | Intro to Bond Finance Course | CDFA

August 7 | State of the Senate | GHP
August 10-11 | Intro Brownfields Finance Course | CDFA
August 10-11 | Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course | CDFA
August 12-13 | Advanced Bond Finance Course | CFDA


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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