Industrial development in the Lake Houston area has increased in the last two years—and the growth is projected to continue with several large-scale logistics buildings set to bring new industrial tenants to the area in 2019.

Mark Mitchell, the president of the Lake Houston Area Economic Development Partnership, said areas of industrial development that are picking up include the Hwy. 59 corridor and Will Clayton Parkway in Humble as well as along Beltway 8 in Generation Park.

One major industrial build-out happening in the Humble area is Archway Properties’ 111-acre, mixed-use development located on Hwy. 59 between Will Clayton Parkway and Burdom Road, which will feature two separate industrial projects being constructed by different companies, Mitchell said.

Meanwhile, industrial growth in Generation Park continues with a new project in Lockwood Business Park.
While industrial development does not provide sales tax revenue to the Lake Houston area like commercial and retail development does, industrial growth helps diversify the area’s property tax base, Mitchell said.

“[Industrial development] is tax-based diversification; it’s job growth,” Mitchell said. “Typically it’s not going to put a burden on the city or the school districts in terms of the growth, so we get kind of the best of both worlds.”

Local developers and officials also said the logistics growth will bring new jobs to the Lake Houston area.

“It’s development on the ground, so there’s property tax dollars there, but more importantly, it’s jobs,” Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe said.

Humble’s growing industry

The city of Humble has been vying to attract companies in the logistics sector—which includes distribution, warehousing and fulfillment services—for several years, Stuebe said.

The city’s lack of zoning and proximity to major transportation hubs makes Humble a prime location for this kind of industrial activity, Stuebe said.

“We’re the last green part of the county that’s not concrete, paved over and taken already,” he said. “It’s also the strategic location between the airport, the Port of Houston, and access to the rail and the interstate.”

One project that will soon debut in Archway Properties’ development on Hwy. 59 is Air 59 Logistics Center, a 685,400-square-foot space will open in August or September 2019.

Another is Parc Air 59, a 20-acre logistics development by real estate company Jackson-Shaw, which was completed in early March. Grant Pearson, the vice president of development at Jackson-Shaw, said the project was 50% preleased before it debuted, which he said indicates the area’s demand for industrial space.

Pearson said the development has signed leases with Paul Davis Restoration for space in Building 3, which moved in March 1, and an undisclosed Porter-area company that produces synthetic lubricant. He said the company is set to move into the spec building June 1, after press time.

“There’s a ton of new residential developments and old, established residential neighborhoods along [Hwy.] 59 and in the Lake Houston area,” Pearson said. “A lot of the types of the tenants ... that our product type caters to want to be close to the residential growth.”

Growth in Generation Park

Industrial development is also increasing in the Generation Park development off Beltway 8. McCord Development, the developer of Generation Park, recently broke ground on its second, 124,618-square-foot industrial building in the 25-acre Lockwood Business Park off Lockwood Road.

McCord Development President Ryan McCord said the building is already 60% preleased by an undisclosed company that will make the park its North American headquarters and manufacturing warehouse.

“Many of the companies locating in the area are locating here because of the workforce, because key decision-makers live [here], and because they’re attracted to the quality of the employee base that lives in and around Lake Houston,” McCord said.

In addition to the second industrial building, McCord said his company intends to build one or two more industrial buildings in Lockwood Business Park before completion.

Creating a workforce

To contribute to the growing logistics workforce in the Lake Houston area, local colleges intend to implement workforce programs tailored to the job needs in the area, officials said.

Generation Park officials recently secured San Jacinto College to open a satellite campus there. Laurel Williamson, the deputy chancellor and president of SJC, said the $26 million satellite campus—which opens fall 2020—aims to debut workforce programs in 2021-22.

“We’re surveying the area, looking at what the [workforce] demands are,” Williamson said. “We’re thinking logistics, transportation and cybersecurity are going to be big players in that area.”

The Lake Houston area currently has 3.7 million square feet of ongoing industrial development, which includes health care, manufacturing, mixed-use space, and the distribution, logistics and fulfillment sector, Mitchell said. He said the area can expect to see 5,000 retained and new jobs from the industrial growth.

“We’ve got more ability to say, ‘Look, we’ve got a fairly large pool of people that would likely ... be willing to take a few more dollars an hour to come to this sector, as opposed to staying in the service sector,’” Mitchell said.