Updated: County, Township approve abatements for ExxonMobil buildings in Hughes Landing

Updated Dec. 16

Update includes renderings, comments from The Woodlands Development Company, ExxonMobil and The Woodlands Township

Montgomery County Commissioners and The Woodlands Township Board of Directors have each approved two 10-year, 100 percent tax abatements to ExxonMobil for one and a half office buildings and an 11-story parking garage in the Hughes Landing Development in The Woodlands.

"It's huge," said County Tax Assessor-Collector J.R. Moore. "It's like another Anadarko all over again. And it's a compliment to what's happening with our neighbor in Harris County with their plant. We've already seen an explosion of home sales with [ExxonMobil] moving into Harris County. This is just going to add to that boom."

Moore said commissioners unanimously approved the abatements at Commissioners Court Dec. 9. ExxonMobil will lease a 12-story, 317,000-square-foot office building and an 11-story parking garage on a 3.3-acre tract of land, as well as half of a 12 1/2-story, 332,000-square-foot office building. The abatements allow ExxonMobil 10 years before it is required to pay property taxes on the buildings, he said.

The 2013 levy on the two tracts of land total about $6,000 in property tax revenue to the county, while the 2016 levy for the two parcels should provide about $161,500 in revenue to the county despite the abatements to ExxonMobil. Once the 10-year abatements are completed in 2023, the two buildings are estimated to provide $573,000 in annual property tax revenue to the county, Moore said.

The abatements require ExxonMobil to create a combined 1,430 jobs upon the completion of the two buildings, scheduled for November 2015, Moore said. He said the jobs created would be a combination of relocated employees and new hires, with jobs including Information Technology, finances, attorneys and some administration.

Those added jobs will receive a combined annual salary of about $179 million, or roughly $125,000 a year per position, according to documents provided by Moore.

Moore said Montgomery County has been working on the abatements for over a year, but only learned the abatements were for ExxonMobil about two weeks ago. He said applications were submitted under the company names Champion A and Champion B, and [ExxonMobil] recently announced it had narrowed the search to three states before selecting Montgomery County and The Woodlands area.

"We're just proud that one of the top oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil chose Montgomery County," he said. "I think it's going to be a good marriage between the two of us."

ExxonMobil continues construction on its new headquarters on the 386-acre site within the Springwoods Village development in Spring. Expected to be complete sometime in 2015, the campus could see ExxonMobil relocate as many as 10,000 employees. David Eglinton, media relations spokesman for ExxonMobil, said the 10,000-employee campus was announced in June 2012.

"At that time, we envisioned that certain groups would be located at offices separate from the new campus," Eglinton said. "Employee locations will be determined by business requirements. The employees that will work at Hughes Landing are primarily based at other company offices in the Houston area."

The 66-acre Hughes Landing development already houses an 8-story office building with Layne Christensen's headquarters, while another 8-story office building is under construction and scheduled for completion in spring 2014.

"We are very pleased to welcome ExxonMobil as a tenant in Hughes Landing, only a short distance from their new campus," said Paul Layne, executive vice president of master planned communities for The Howard Hughes Corporation. "Their offices in Hughes Landing are ideally situated, only steps away from all that Hughes Landing has to offer, providing their employees a one-of-a-kind setting where they can work in a vibrant lakeside community."

Hughes Landing will feature 1.5 million to 2 million square feet of office space, 800-1,000 apartment units, 175,000-200,000 square feet of retail, a hotel and other amenities upon its completion.

Moore could not confirm the exact location of the two ExxonMobil office buildings, but said the buildings would be located next to CB&I's offices along Lake Woodlands.

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors also approved 10-year, 100 percent abatements for the ExxonMobil offices at its Dec. 12 meeting. Director Gordy Bunch said the abatement is worth about $341,000, but said it would help bring $120 million in annual salaries to The Woodlands from the jobs created.

"The jobs created will benefit you more than the taxes you give," Director Mike Bass said.

By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.