Terry Montesi, Trademark’s chief executive officer, discussed the new development and the company’s presence in the Katy area in an exclusive Q&A with Community Impact Newspaper Katy edition.
“We’re just very excited to be working on what we think is really 100 percent-location, world-class real estate,” Montesi said. “We think it’s got a powerful future.”
Why did Trademark choose the Katy area as the ideal location for this project?
Research and retailer void. For a trade area with demographics that are very strong, there are lots of retailers that aren’t in that trade area. And that is what we look for. [Other factors are] the Energy Corridor as [a] long-term employment center and that there is still plenty of land to the north and west for future growth. And the new Grand Parkway; it is a major super-regional intersection that can carry lots of customers and prospective businesses a long way, quickly.
When does Trademark expect the initial 60-acre phase to break ground, and when might it be completed?
We are building a mixed-use project, so multiple uses need to be healthy. They don’t all have to be raging, but they need to be healthy; they can’t be distressed. Today there is a little bit of distress in the Energy Corridor, and we’re a couple years into this downturn. And so, by the time we do planning and pre-leasing and get ready for construction, we think that is minimum 18 months. So the earliest it would open would probably be three years, and that is if the market heals and normalizes over the next 12 to 18 months.
What are the projected costs associated with this project?
$150 million-plus, roughly. We don’t know based on [the] market exactly how much retail we will build [and] how much of the other uses. But it would probably be at least that.
Why does a mixed-use development best fit the needs of the Katy area, and what affect will the town center have on the Katy community?
Most American suburbs really have a need and residents yearn for the more urban lifestyle and experiential places. Conventional strip centers [and] conventional office campuses don’t deliver. Well-executed, mixed-use projects or mixed-use town centers are a way to fill that void, but give folks an option closer to where they live to work, or stay or play or shop, or even live in the apartments. The kind of mixed-use development that we foresee would be a world class, state-of-the-art, retail, office, hotel, multi-family neighborhood built around great public spaces.
Do you expect that—with the rate at which the Katy area is growing—the town center will someday take up the entire 107-acre tract?
That’s just a prognostication. On the  acres that we’re working on, we think that we can do a walkable, pedestrian-scaled environment that is also urbane and dense. You get much bigger than that, and you’re no longer real walkable. A project like this—executed at the level that we plan to execute—will raise property values and will encourage others to build. This is a very powerful growth corridor in one of the fastest growing, most important business centers in the U.S. [It offers] great real estate with great accessibility and an enormous employment center and great demographics.