The rush of residents moving into Montgomery County is creating a tale of two cities with different but complementary approaches.
Anchored by its residential communities, The Woodlands officials and developers are focused on the construction of more office property while Conroe officials want to attract industrial users.
"Large development can really have an impact on the character of the city moving forward," Conroe Economic Development Council Executive Director Danielle Scheiner said.
Industrial Focus In Conroe
The CEDC focuses primarily on appealing to employers in manufacturing, distribution and professional and technical services, Scheiner said.
Within those target industries, the particular areas of focus include engineering design, logistics, back-office design, back-office operations, medical device manufacturing, clean energy, warehouse, distribution and oil and gas service equipment manufacturing.
Scheiner, who is speaking at Bisnow’s Future of The Woodlands and Conroe event Nov. 13, said Conroe is well-suited for those industries because of its regional workforce, their skills and the types of land and buildings that are available for development.
To attract those businesses, the council has invested in Conroe Park North, a 1,045-acre industrial park with shovel-ready land, and the Deison Technology Park, a 248-acre industrial park close to the Conroe North Houston Regional Airport, which recently opened a U.S. Customs federal inspection station.
The CEDC has an additional 610 acres under development and expected to deliver in the next 12 to 18 months, she said. It also markets available property and existing buildings on behalf of developers and landlords.
As a 4B corporation, the council collects a sales tax and allocates the revenues to fund the department, pay for infrastructure projects and fund incentive programs for qualified projects based on job creation and capital investment in the community. The council views developers and investors as partners and allies and must find common ground to accomplish their goals, Scheiner said.
The council's primary concern is to create quality jobs and capital investment that will create a stronger tax base for the community to invest in the infrastructure improvement and support growth.
The interest to develop in Conroe is driven by the area's proximity to Houston, the massive mobility investment, the Conroe airport expansion, the smart regulations and the entertainment benefits from Lake Conroe, Signorelli Co. founder and principal Danny Signorelli said.
People are moving to Texas for jobs, Signorelli said. Companies like Texas because of fair tax treatment and better regulations that promote efficient progress instead of "expensive red tape."
Signorelli Co. has made significant development strides with six commercial and mixed-use projects in Conroe and its surrounding areas. The company's largest development is Valley Ranch, a 1,400-acre mixed-use development on the Grand Parkway.
With an eye on population growth in the Conroe area, which is expected to double from 600,000 to 1.2 million people over the next 15 years, most of Signorelli's efforts have been to address residential demand through mixed-use environments.
Investments into mobility, such as the construction of the Grand Parkway, creates access to large tracts of land and provides attractive solutions for future development for residential development and for companies that need to grow and relocate to the Greater Houston market, Signorelli said.
"The two go hand in hand," he said. "Companies relocate where there is a quality of population of an educated and trained workforce. The housing growth provides the population numbers need to satisfy the job creators. So it's a win-win when it comes down to the type of growth Conroe is experiencing."
Going forward, the company noted demand growth in multifamily, retail and technology, medical and life science office tenants.
"Our local economy is not oil dependent like it was in the '80s, instead it is quite diverse," Signorelli said.
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