Howard Hughes Corp. announces plans for remaining commercial development in The Woodlands

Howard Hughes
From left: Howard Hughes Corp. executives Jim Carman, president of the Houston Region; Robert Heineman, vice president of planning and design; and Heath Melton, executive vice president, master-planned communities residential, view a map of remaining commercial properties to be developed in The Woodlands. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

From left: Howard Hughes Corp. executives Jim Carman, president of the Houston Region; Robert Heineman, vice president of planning and design; and Heath Melton, executive vice president, master-planned communities residential, view a map of remaining commercial properties to be developed in The Woodlands. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Segments highlighted in yellow on the Howard Hughes Corp. map of The Woodlands show where commercial property will be developed in the future. (Courtesy Howard Hughes Corp.)
The Howard Hughes Corp. announced its plans Nov. 30 to submit plat applications for its remaining 700 acres of development-eligible commercial property in The Woodlands.

The property is about 2.5% of The Woodlands’ total acreage and consists mainly of plats in Town Center and in areas where commercial development already exists on I-45, FM 1488, FM 2978 and Kuykendahl Road, according to a news release from the company.

“This constitutes everything that Howard Hughes has remaining from undeveloped commercial property,” Carman said. He said it is mostly located in the Town Center and periphery of The Woodlands and that it represents a variety of potential development opportunities, including retail, office, medical or performing arts.

The company stated it is presenting these plans and its map of future commercial development for transparency and clarity on where it plans to complete commercial build-out in The Woodlands.

Single-family residential build-out in The Woodlands is nearly complete, with only a small portion of Creekside Park and some lots in East Shore remaining, according to a news release.

Officials said there is not a specific timeline for development of the remaining commercial properties, but plat applications will be submitted according to the usual development process in The Woodlands. Plat applications are typically submitted to the cities of Houston or Conroe, depending which entity has extraterritorial jurisdiction on a particular parcel in The Woodlands.

“We know residents are curious about our plans, and sharing this information eliminates the need for speculation or misinformation,” said Jim Carman, president of the Houston Region of The Howard Hughes Corp. “We are presenting the areas we envision for future commercial development in the interest of transparency with The Woodlands community.”

Carman said the company aims to develop the properties in a way consistent with founder George Mitchell’s vision as well as with existing covenants in The Woodlands.

Woodlands Parkway, for example, will not be developed, Carman said.

“We have ... heard resident concerns about the possibility that Woodlands Parkway will eventually become like FM 1960,” he said, referring to the busy corridor in northern unincorporated Harris County. “As our map indicates, this will never be the case. [Howard Hughes] has virtually no additional development sites along Woodlands Parkway. Existing covenants placed upon the land along Woodlands Parkway also ensure its ultimate preservation.”

Carman also said the parkway will not be extended beyond FM 2978 for several reasons.

“We have recorded a plat on the property west of the intersection that, once developed, would not include an extension,” he said. “In addition, [Montgomery County Precinct 3] Commissioner James Noack and [Precinct 2] Commissioner Charlie Riley have requested that the extension be removed from the major thoroughfare plan and for Woodlands Parkway to terminate at the intersection of FM 2978.”

Beginning the plat approval process does not mean that a project is imminent nor that a timeline has been established, he said.

“We will develop these commercial properties thoughtfully and methodically over the course of the coming years based on market demand and economic indicators,” Carman said. “As with all of our projects, stormwater management, traffic and tree removal are among many items that will be carefully considered on a project-by-project basis prior to the start of any development as we continue to abide by the covenants and preservation and design standards of our master-planned community.”

Single-family residential development in The Woodlands is nearly complete, and 8,000 of The Woodlands’ total 28,800 acres, or around 28%, will remain undeveloped as greenspace, according to Howard Hughes Corp.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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