Cy-Fair projects move forward as developers adjust to coronavirus

Construction on a new Staybridge Suites is underway at Cypress Crossing, a mixed-use project by Caldwell Companies at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and FM 1960. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction on a new Staybridge Suites is underway at Cypress Crossing, a mixed-use project by Caldwell Companies at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and FM 1960. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

Construction on a new Staybridge Suites is underway at Cypress Crossing, a mixed-use project by Caldwell Companies at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and FM 1960. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

Several weeks since the implementation of Harris County's Stay Home-Work Safe order, developers in the Cy-Fair area said projects continue to move forward, but some said they are pressing pause on longer-term projects until the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic become more clear.

Peter Barnhart, an executive vice president and partner with Caldwell Companies, said most projects in Cy-Fair are moving forward in some form, including residential construction at the Towne Lake master-planned community and work on Cypress Crossing, a commercial project at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and FM 1960.

"A lot of those projects that were in progress are continuing," Barnhart said. "It’s actually pretty amazing how nimble we’ve all been to [keep] working outside of our offices."

However, Barthart said the coronavirus has caused some slowdowns that will likely continue until demand for commercial and residential space returns to its normal levels.

"March and April are usually two of the best months of the year [for home sales]," he said. "There’s traffic out, but it's not like it normally is. If there’s a project and we have a user that’s ready to go, we’ll proceed, but for those [projects] that are more speculative in nature, we press the pause button to see how the economy reopens."

At Cypress Crossing, construction is continuing on a new Staybridge Suites. There are other potential tenants who Barnhart said were close to inking deals, but those talks will likely take a little more time to finalize now, he said.

"It's still a tremendous intersection with tremendous demographics," Barnhart said. "When the community reopens, I think we’ll get a lot more people re-engaged with the plans we were working on before the coronavirus."

Meanwhile, construction companies like J.A. Greene Construction have put new standards in place to ensure the safety of their workers. Among its projects, J.A. Greene is working on the Enclave Business Park, a retail and office development underway on Grant Road.

In a statement posted to the company's Facebook page in late March, officials announced changes to normal operating procedures, including having all office personnel work from home, providing personal protective equipment to field staff and limiting client walk-throughs so they are either done online or in isolation.

Certain aspects of the new protocols, such as having only one subcontractor on-site at a time, could affect project timelines, officials warned in the announcement.

"We do not anticipate the impact being substantial at this moment and feel most contractors will adapt quickly to maintain continuity," officials wrote. "Project managers will continue to closely monitor project schedules and alert clients and client representatives of any time impacts."

In Jersey Village, City Manager Austin Bleess said construction timelines for an upcoming mixed-use center, which includes the construction of a new City Hall, are still on track as of early April.

"The city permitting and inspections are still happening as normal, with no slowdowns right now," Bleess said in an email.

Bleess said city staff is watching expenses with plans to minimize any shortfalls that may surface as a result of coronavirus-spurred drops in sales tax revenue. However, he said the projects planned in the fiscal year 2019-20 budget are being funded with money the city had saved in reserves and therefore are not dependent on revenue raised this year.

Of course, everything is fluid right now, and the answers to these questions could change in the coming weeks," Bleess said.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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