Since 2012, Houston-based real estate firm McCord Development has invested nearly $1.5 billion into the 4,300-acre master-planned community Generation Park.

The development, located near Beltway 8 and West Lake Houston Parkway, largely comprises industrial, retail and office space in addition to a pair of college campuses.

In March, construction began on the San Jacinto College Center for Biotechnology. Additionally, recently completed infrastructure improvements have cleared the way for BioHub Two, a 45-acre biomanufacturing campus planned for the development.

In addition to expanding its life sciences offerings, McCord Development officials said the master-planned community’s next phase of development will include recreational offerings and an interconnected parks and trails system.

The overview

Since Generation Park’s inception more than a decade ago, McCord Development has sold or developed roughly 700 acres and about 7 million square feet of commercial space, including roughly 1.9 million square feet of industrial space, 617,000 square feet of retail space and 440,000 square feet of office space.

McCord Development President Ryan McCord noted several projects are in the works, including the 6-acre surfing simulation destination dubbed HTX Surf, a wedding and event venue, additional multifamily housing and roughly 4.75 million square feet of industrial space.

Gonzalo Echeverria, director of design and planning for McCord Development, said one of the goals for Generation Park is to create a one-stop destination where residents and visitors have access to everything they need.

Echeverria pointed to Redemption Square as Generation Park’s central hub. The 52-acre mixed-use lifestyle district is composed of Class A offices, hotels, apartments, restaurants, shops, an outdoor event venue and daily services.

Additionally, Generation Park is home or adjacent to more than 651 acres of parks and open spaces as well as 60 miles of trails. Echeverria said several infrastructure and trail projects are in the works to create more interconnectivity between the parks and the districts throughout the development.

Among those projects include Generation Parkway, which will act as the primary roadway connecting West Lake Houston Parkway and Lockwood Road.

McCord also highlighted The Ray, a 4-mile paved trail that will loop around the western portion of the development and connect to several nearby parks. He noted plans to include an adjacent running trail are also in the works.

Zooming in

Shawn Cloonen, general counsel and life sciences lead for McCord Development, said development catering to the life sciences industry has gained recent traction in Generation Park.

Houston ranked as a top-15 market nationwide for the number of individuals employed in the life sciences industry and first in Texas, according to a 2023 study from economic development organization Greater Houston Partnership.

McCord said he believes Generation Park will become a prime location for the life sciences industry due to its strategic location between the Port of Houston and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, its proximity to the Texas Medical Center and its available land for expansion.

Scheduled to open in early 2025, Cloonen said the San Jacinto College Center for Biotechnology will be equipped with industrial bioprocessing equipment and will offer certificate coursework in bioprocessing to students.

Additionally, Cloonen said recently completed infrastructure improvements have paved the way for construction on the first phase of Generation Park’s 45-acre master-planned biomanufacturing campus—dubbed BioHub Two.

Cloonen noted the makeup of BioHub Two can be subdivided to accommodate the full spectrum of life science uses, including small- and large-scale manufacturing needs as well as research and development.

“We have so much opportunity for people to cluster assets here and expand, and I think that’s really attractive on the life sciences side because it is specialized and has a specialized workforce,” Cloonen said.

Why it matters

Sales tax generated by the Generation Park Management District has risen from nearly $1.76 million in 2018 to just over $3.1 million in 2022, a roughly 76.8% increase, Texas Comptroller’s Office data shows.

Officials noted portions of the district's sales tax revenue are used to finance sales tax bonds approved in 2018 and 2021 totaling roughly $25 million used to finance infrastructure projects.
What they're saying
  • “There’s no core for anyone to go to here. Everyone still goes to downtown [Houston], but we see there’s a need for ... Lake Houston to have a place where they have employment, services, retail, etc.” —Gonzalo Echeverria, McCord Development director of design and planning
  • “[Generation Park creates] an environment where employees can thrive, companies can grow and shareholder value can be maximized.” —Stephanie Wiggins, Partnership Lake Houston chief economic development officer
What's next

Looking to the future, McCord said he will continue to nurture Generation Park’s growing life sciences presence, but he also noted he would remain flexible and consider market factors when looking at new projects.

“There are times when Houston’s capital markets are booming, and there are times when it’s slow,” McCord said. “Strategy has to go across all those peaks and valleys.”

Still, McCord said the development would continue to build off its strategy of providing a location where residents and visitors have everything they need.

“You have to think about life outside of just the eight-hour work day and what can we do to add value there,” McCord said. “If you give the people what they want, it’s actually the best business strategy.”