If construction begins this summer as planned, the entire project could be completed within three to four years, officials told residents during a May 4 information session about the project.
City leaders including former mayor Justin Ray, current mayor Andrew Mitcham and mayor-elect Bobby Warren were present and spoke throughout the event.
But because this was not an official city meeting, there was no public comment period or opportunity for residents to publicly ask questions. Instead, they were asked to submit questions ahead of time and visit with officials one-on-one after the presentation if they had follow-up questions. See officials address questions in this recording of the full meeting below:
The first building to break ground will be a wellness office space in June, followed by another office and retail building in July and Jersey Village City Hall in August. A 264-unit apartment complex catered to young professionals is also slated for groundbreaking later this year in November, said Saul Valentin, founding principal at Collaborate.
“We wanted to make sure that we had a development that was actually answering the vision that the city had—a vision that was put together many years before we got involved,” he said.
When the city entered its unanimously-approved agreement with Collaborate in March 2019, the proposed timeline suggested construction could begin later that year and continue through 2020-21. In addition to addressing challenges such as drainage issues on the property, Mitcham said it takes time for all the pieces of a project of this magnitude to come together—from conducting market research to discussing flood prevention efforts with the Harris County Flood Control District. Mitcham said the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in delaying the timeline, but conversations have been ongoing behind the scenes throughout.
This updated timeline comes nearly three weeks after the city received a petition signed by hundreds of residents interested in keeping City Hall at its current location, 16327 Lakeview Drive, Jersey Village. Several questions submitted ahead of Tuesday’s meeting dealt with this topic.
Valentin said Village Center was designed around the relocation of City Hall, and if this key piece was removed, residents would see additional delays in development as plans would need to be re-evaluated. Additionally, stakeholders who have already committed to the project may decide to back out, he said.
“The current way that the development is designed and planned, City Hall is a critical component and it’s the backbone of the citizen-centric component of it,” he said. “Will it die [without City Hall]? No, but it will delay the project. We will have to go back perhaps to square one [of] the process.”
Ray said the vision of Village Center has been in place for years. When Jones Road was extended to FM 529 and this tract of land opened up, city leaders at that time acted to ensure a mixed-use development could come in rather than more of the same car dealerships, warehouses and industrial spaces that surround the area now, he said.
“Let’s go back about 10 years [to] 2011 ... the city of Jersey Village is 92% built-out,” Ray said. “We’re inundated with car lots, warehouses, industrial complexes that—while valuable commercial neighbors—leave our community lacking the type of retail, entertainment [and] restaurant options other communities both new and old have.”
Development plans include 360,000 square feet of multifamily space, 110,000 square feet of restaurants and retail options, 120,000 square feet of office space, 65,000 square feet of hospitality and 350,000 square feet of community greenspace.
Valentin said this will be a “destination” where residents can gather and spend time with family. Conversations with potential tenants are already underway, although The WorkLodge coworking office was the only business mentioned by name on Tuesday. Future tenants will be announced at www.village-center.net.