The Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court on May 23 unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with The Howard Hughes Corp. to explore a land exchange that would involve the Grogan’s Mill Shopping Center, the South Regional Library and South County Community Center.

The background

After several years of talks among township officials and Grogan’s Mill residents regarding the need for revitalization of the Grogan’s Mill Village Center on Switchbud Place, The Howard Hughes Corp. confirmed on May 12 it had acquired ownership of the property and facility for an undisclosed sum.

Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack issued a news release May 16 that proposed a trade between the county and Howard Hughes. The land swap would grant Howard Hughes the property containing the South Regional Library and South County Community Center in exchange for the Grogan’s Mill Village Center, according to the release. The library and community center are located on Lake Robbins Drive.

What they’re saying
  • Jim Carman, Houston region president of The Howard Hughes Corp., at the May 23 meeting: “We didn't own the center, but we were motivated by our residents to look for solutions to revitalize it. And so the first step in that process started earlier this month we purchased two components of that center. ... Ultimately the goal is to work collaboratively with the Commissioner's Court, Montgomery County, The Woodlands Township, Grogan’s Mill Village Association and the residents to create a new village center that we'll all be proud of.”
  • Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack: “If we do make this work, Montgomery County is going to receive a brand new state-of-the-art library and community center. It's going to give us more parking spaces for early voting, it's going to give us a much larger—we're looking to have a 200-person room—instead of a ... room that fits about 100 right now, so it's going to make voting easier for everybody in the city. It's going to be a real positive force."
What’s next

The memorandum does not initiate the land swap, but it gives permission for the Montgomery County attorney’s office to begin talks with Howard Hughes on a potential agreement, Noack said. There is no set time frame on when an agreement could be presented, but a presentation would be brought back before Commissioners Court at some point in the future, per the court's decision.