Since the opening of the Grand Parkway extension between New Caney and Baytown in May, development has flourished in Valley Ranch over the past several months with more on the horizon.

Developed by The Signorelli Co., Valley Ranch is a 1,400-acre master-planned community located at Hwy. 59 and the Grand Parkway in New Caney. The community is segmented into districts based on designated use, with Valley Ranch Town Center—which includes more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and dining—experiencing the most development in recent months.

“The Grand Parkway is really the reason all of this is happening,” said Mark Linabury, president and CEO of the Greater East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “The hub of opportunity is New Caney; all roads now lead right here.”

Since April, at least 15 businesses have opened in Town Center, according to previous Community Impact reporting. Within that same timeframe, officials have announced 10 additional businesses slated for the center that have not yet opened.

“As Town Center gets to where we don’t have many opportunities left, we have started planning within the other districts,” said Shannon League, vice president of Marketing for The Signorelli Co.

According to League, while Town Center is nearing build-out, the developer still has 500 acres in Valley Ranch’s surrounding districts to develop.

“Town Center is only just a small piece in the beginning of what’s to come,” League said.

A changing landscape

Since The Signorelli Co. first began work on Valley Ranch in 1999, much has changed in what used to be rural east Montgomery County. According to League, two of the most pivotal events in the development of Valley Ranch have been the extension of the Grand Parkway and the legalization of the sale of alcohol within Valley Ranch, which voters approved in 2017.

“That was a really big turning point when it came to commercial development in the community,” League said.

Since the May opening of the Grand Parkway extension, a slate of businesses have opened within Town Center, including Victoria’s Secret, Home Goods, F45 Training and Goody Goody Liquor, which League said is now the largest liquor store in Montgomery County.

Construction on a 135,000-square-foot Target began in June and is slated for completion in mid-August. Additional businesses of note under construction include Rogers Premier Salon Suites, scheduled to open in September; Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, set to open in June; and Saltgrass Steak House, which is slated to open later this year.

Also coming down the pipeline is the East Montgomery County Improvement District’s new 200,000-square-foot conference center, which will be located within Valley Ranch’s entertainment district. The $108 million center will feature a 55,000-square-foot ballroom and exhibit hall that can hold more than 6,000 people as well as nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

EMCID President and CEO Frank McCrady said the district’s board selected Valley Ranch for its conference center due to its ease of access with nearby major corridors like the Grand Parkway and Hwy. 59 as well its surrounding amenities.

“We just see that being in the middle of Valley Ranch is the right investment,” McCrady said.

In a Feb. 22 interview, McCrady said the project is out for bid, and the board would be receiving qualifications from builders within the next 30-60 days. Once the board selects a firm, it will issue bonds, and construction will begin with the project slated to open within the next 1.5-2 years.

McCrady said the board is also in negotiations with a potential conference center hotel, although no other details could be shared as of press time.

The bigger picture

Outside of commercial development, Valley Ranch welcomed The Gregory Apartments in October in Valley Ranch Marketplace. The 269-unit apartment complex joins The Pointe at Valley Ranch Town Center—a 456-unit apartment complex—and nearly 1,500 single-family homes in Valley Ranch’s residential district.

In addition to residential growth, Linabury said he expects development to occur within the wellness district soon, although he did not specify a timeframe.

“We’re underserved right now if you were to do a ratio analysis of residents compared to health care providers,” Linabury said.

Likewise, McCrady said with the community’s recent growth in residential and retail offerings, office space in the commerce district could follow.

League noted The Signorelli Co. has also recently developed more than half a mile of roadways within Valley Ranch to help increase mobility with the extensions of both Valley Ranch Boulevard and Valley Ranch Bend.

“We are the No. 3 most-visited open-air shopping center in Houston,” she said. “We have 7 million visitors annually, so it’s that much more important to create that ability to move traffic.”

While League said The Signorelli Co. does not have a set timeline for when build-out of Valley Ranch will be completed, she said the developer is committed to bringing in thoughtful commercial and residential offerings to meet the needs of New Caney residents.

“This could just be a truck stop or another shopping center,” Linabury said. “We are not a city; we’re just unincorporated area. So to have developers who truly care and have a long-term vision is crucial.”