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New Proposed Regulations on Opportunity Zones | Treasury Department

U.S. Department of the Treasury logo blue background with yellow shield
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new guidance and regulations on opportunity zones. The proposed regulations clarify that almost all capital gains qualify for deferral; the rules allow either a partnership or its partners to elect deferral. 

In addition to the proposed regulations, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued additional guidance  to aid taxpayers in participating in the qualified opportunity zone incentive. A current list of opportunity zones is available. 

For more information visit the Tax Reform page of the IRS website.
Responses Requested: Broadband Availability Survey | GCEDD

The GCEDD is working to enhance broadband access in the region, in accordance with the region's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. To better understand the region's broadband needs, the GCEDD is conducting a survey of broadband availability

This survey takes under a minute to complete. Please consider passing the link to your colleagues. The more responses we receive, the better our understanding of the regional broadband network will be. 

For more information, contact Joshua Owens at  832-681-2613. 
Economic Development Revitalization Program | General Land Office Texas General Land Office Logo

Launching in January 2019, the Texas General Land Office Economic Development Revitalization program will provide assistance to small businesses (as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration) impacted by Hurricane Harvey. 

Deferred forgivable loans and loans in exchange for job creation or retention are available for small business owners throughout the region. Businesses can receive up to 250,000 dollars in assistance. There is currently $100 million allocated for this program. 

For more information, contact Heather LaGrone.
Attend Texas Freight Mobility Plan Implementation Meetings | TxDOT

Texas Department of Transportation logo with blue star and red linesThe Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is hosting a variety of workshops throughout the state to get feedback from local communities, stakeholders, and partners on truck parking and freight infrastructure design issues and solutions. 

TxDOT will be in Houston on Thursday, December 6. The location and time have yet to be published. 

For more information visit TxDOT's website.  
Explore the September Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis | Workforce Solutions

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Workforce Solutions provides a monthly analysis of the Gulf Coast region's labor market. Some highlights from the September 2018 report are:
  • Employers in the H-GAC region added 13,800 jobs over the past month
  • The majority of job growth was seen in the government sector (19,600 jobs), which is largely due to the start of the new school year
  • The manufacturing sector also saw significant job growth this month with 1,300 jobs added
The report highlights data from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics focusing on the region's 13 counties. Reports from January to September 2018 are available on Workforce Solutions' website.
Growing Software Firm Moves Headquarters to Katy | Community Update

In May, HighRadius, a Houston-based financial technology enterprise software firm, subleased 25,000 square feet of space from BP at the Westlake Four building for its headquarters with plans to lease another floor in the coming months. 

HighRadius's Chief Financial Officer, Johnny Vincent, explained that moving to Katy made it possible to acquire much needed space and recruit employees. "It suits us well," Vincent said. "I can see this as a growing thing, with more companies out in the area. It's an attractive spot."
Apply for Our Great Region Awards | Applications Due November 16 | H-GAC

The Our Great Region Awards recognize outstanding projects in the region that are advancing the goals and strategies identified in the Our Great Region 2040 plan. The application closes Friday, November 16. 

Any plans, programs, projects, or policies that have implemented a strategy of the Our Great Region 2040 plan within the 13-county region in the past four years are eligible for submission. 

For more information, contact Amy Combs.
Bring Back Main Street | January 23, 2019 | H-GAC

Save the date for the next  Bringing Back Main Street roundtable on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Bringing Back Main Street offers local communities a place to share best practices and engage in a regional dialogue about revitalizing and supporting vibrant downtown spaces. 

At the October 23 Bringing Back Main Street roundtable in Humble, participants learned about the City of Huntsville's efforts to enhance its downtown through branding, sign ordinances, signage, and wayfinding. 

For more information, contact Joey Kaspar.
Economic Resilience
Targeted Workforce Training | Brazosport College

Brazosport College enhances the region's economic resilience through proactively meeting the demand for a skilled workforce. Brazosport College has 4,000 traditional students, but serves 20,000 to 25,000 students per year. Brazosport Colllege's Center for Business and Industry  offers courses specifically tailored to industry needs. Students gain hands-on experience and training on the equipment they will use in the field, while industry experts shape the curriculum through the Center's advisory council.  

Funding Opportunities
EDA Hurricane Harvey Funding Available | Continuous

The U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Austin regional office received $129,119,000 in supplemental funding for disaster relief and is actively seeking projects to help communities in our region recover from Hurricane Harvey. The recently released Notice of Funding Opportunity outlines the requirements, which include the following:
  • Projects require an 20% match, which can include in-kind
  • Typical projects will range from $1-$2.5 million
  • Must demonstrate a nexus to Harvey in terms of economic recovery or resilience
  • Eligible applicants include governments, non-profits, and universities
For more information, contact Joshua Owens or Robert Peche of the EDA.
Manufacturing Innovation Challenge | U.S Department of Energy | December 7

The U.S. Department of Energy  is offering a series of cash prizes for innovations in next generation manufacturing technologies. The Challenge offers applicants an opportunity to submit innovative design concepts for additive manufacturing and other topics within several technology areas, including bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, and vehicle technologies.
Individual prizes ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to innovators with the best solutions for today's manufacturing challenges. The first two challenges are Additive Manufacturing for Disaster Response and Solid State Lighting Manufacturing Concept. Applications are due Friday, December 7. Other challenges and deadlines are soon to be announced.
DOT Funding to Improve Transportation Facilities Near Federal Lands | December 17

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Lands Program (NSFLTP) is funding transportation improvement projects of at least [TA1] $25 million. Projects can include constructing, reconstructing, or rehabilitating transportation facilities within, adjacent to, or accessing federal and tribal lands. The initial review of grants is December 17, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted. For more information, visit NSFLTP website.
USDA Funding Available for Technical Assistance for Water Systems | December 31

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) Grant Program helps communities with water or wastewater systems through free technical assistance and/or training. Qualified non-profit organizations [TA1] can receive TAT grant funds to identify and evaluate solutions to water and waste disposal problems in rural areas. The program assists applicants in preparing applications for water and waste grants made at the state level offices, and helps improve operation and maintenance of existing rural water and waste disposal facilities. The notice of funding provides more information.
National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation | January 17, 2019

The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by the National Science Foundation the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships, and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit.

In addition, the PFI program is designed to support prototype or proof-of-concept development work by participants, including I-Corps participants, with innovations that, because of the early stage of development, are not eligible to participate in a Small Business Innovation Research Program or a Small Business Technology Transfer Program, and to enhance partnerships between academia and industry in the United States, and expanding the participation of women and individuals from underrepresented groups in innovation, technology translation, and entrepreneurship. Grants are available for up to $550,000. Explore past projects and the funding notice for more information.
FEMA Funding Available for Flood Mitigation Assistance | January 31, 2019        
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program provides funding to local communities for projects and planning that reduces or eliminates long-term risk of flood damage to structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FMA funding is also available for management costs. The application period ends January 31, 2019.  Eligible projects include:
  • Infrastructure/ Utility/ Sanitary sewer protective measures
  • Floodwater storage and diversion
  • Stormwater management
  • Wetland restoration/creation
  • Localized flood control to protect critical facility
  • Floodplain and stream restoration
For more information, contact Kathy Hopkins.
AmeriCorps Funding for Disaster Services | February 7, 2019

Funding is being offered to organizations or local communities who are proposing AmeriCorps member activities in the area of Disaster Services. Disaster Services activities will provide support to increase the preparedness of individuals for disasters, improve individuals' readiness to respond to disasters, help individuals recover from disasters, and/or help individuals mitigate disasters.

An AmeriCorps member is an individual who engages in community service through an approved national service position. Members receive a living allowance while serving. Applications are due Thursday, February 7, 2019. A webinar about the program and how to apply is on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. For more information, contact Elisa Gleeson.
Upcoming Developments
Suez opened the world's largest R&D Analytical Testing Labs in Tomball. This new laboratory, housing 80 employees, provides expanded focus on downstream refining, petrochemical, and upstream oil and gas processing applications.

A new 100,000-square-foot industrial and office facility is coming to Pearland for Endress + Hauser. The new development will be on 17 acres on the southeast corner of Beltway 8 and Kirby Drive. This area is also known as the Lower Kirby District which includes offices, retail, commercial and industrial developments.
Sam Houston State University will break ground later this year on a building for its proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine. The 5-story, 216,000-square-foot building will be within Grand Central Park in Conroe. Completion is expected by December 2019.
650 new apartments are coming to Katy at the southwest corner of the Grand Parkway and I-10, next to Costco.
Sheldon Business Park will break ground later this year. The 214,000-square-foot distribution center is located at the intersection of N. Lake Parkway and E. Sam Houston Parkway North. The development is expected to be completed in 2019.
Bayport North Logistics Center I and Bayport North Logistics Center II broke ground at Bayport Industrial Park in Pasadena. The buildings totaling over 330,000 square feet are expected to be completed in 2019.
In-N-Out is coming to Katy. The burger restaurant is expected to open in 2019 at the northeast corner of Interstate 10 and Katy Fort Bend Road. There is also 30,000 square feet of retail planned for the property located at 806 Katy Fort Bend Road. This is the second Houston-area In-N-Out location. The first is planned at The Grid, a new mixed-use development on the former Texas Instruments Inc.
Polo Ranch, a master-planned community targeting first-time homebuyers, is coming to Fulshear. The planned community will border FM 359, Interstate 10, the Brazos River, and the communities of Fulbrook and Weston Lakes. Grand opening is planned for summer 2019.
Tower 5040 will break ground this month at 5018 Calhoun Road. The eight-story luxury apartment building will contain 147 units. The project should be completed by summer 2020.
A retail project with two buildings totaling 20,000 square feet planned to break ground in October. The project will be located at 1769. S Friendswood Drive will include a Chick-fil-A.
Land Tejas Cos. plans a manmade lagoon at its Lago Mar community. The lagoon will be a part of a 70-acre resort-style project which will include a hotel, 250,000 square feet of restaurants and retail, and possibly townhomes.

Compiled from reports in Community Impact Newspapers, Houston Business Journals, Houston Chronicle, and Real Estate Center Texas A&M University.
Upcoming Events

December 4 | Latest on Opportunity Zones | Webinar

December 6 | Texas Freight Mobility Plan Meetings | Houston

January 29-31, 2019 | Energy Mexico Oil Gas Power Expo & Congress | Mexico City

January 27- 29, 2019 | IEDC Leadership Summit | Fort Lauderdale, FL  

February 5-8, 2019 | Basic Economic Development Course  | Katy, TX

The Economic Development Digest is published quarterly by the
Gulf Coast Economic Development District.  

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