Katy's east side booming with several large developments

I-10 seeing rapid growth between Katy-Fort Bend and Mason roads

While the sprawling highway flyovers being built for the Grand Parkway over I-10 east of Katy dominate the landscape, it is what is happening below that will have a more direct impact on the area's residents.

Rapid and plentiful development is enveloping I-10 on both sides of the Grand Parkway as Houston's Energy Corridor pushes westward. Currently, there are no fewer than a dozen developments under way on Katy's east side. Companies with ties to the oil and gas industry are prominent because of their desire to be in the Energy Corridor. Dyna-Drill, Hampco Services and Newpark Drilling Fluids are among those preparing to call Katy home.

"We could get cheaper land elsewhere, but it's worth the high premium to be here," Hampco owner and president Andy Grieve said.

Fueled by the Energy Corridor

Hampco Services Inc. is ready to start construction in early 2013 on a 30,000-square-foot, full-service facility on 11 acres of land at Grand Parkway and Colonial Parkway. It will serve as the new headquarters for the Houston-based oilfield services company.

Grieve said he chose Katy to be close to his drilling contractor customers in the Energy Corridor. He said he moved here from Scotland seven years ago with the intent on staying one year to merge his business with another one here. That deal fell through, but Grieve liked what he found in Katy.

"The value of the property was great, the schools are good it was a natural place to stay," he said.

He said many of his business contacts said it was important to them to have a Houston address, but that is changing now that Katy is becoming a bigger player in the energy game.

"Katy will be getting a lot better known," he said.

Ten West Crossing, a 42-acre industrial park under development north of I-10 just west of Mason Road on Merchants Way, also caters to the energy industry," said Hunter Brown, an associate with InSite Real Estate, the group managing development of the Ten West Crossing project for EastGroup Properties.

"The west Houston office [building] and industrial market has been very active for a couple years now with most of the demand coming from the oil and gas industry. We feel like there is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on this with EastGroup's Ten West site."

Three buildings are already under construction at the site.

"We completed a build-to-suit with Welltec on Building One," Brown said "That building is already under construction."

Welltec develops and provides well technology and solutions for the oil and gas industry. It is expected to bring more than 50 jobs to the community.

According to the Katy Area Economic Development Council, the first phase of the West Ten Crossing project includes Welltec's 30,000-square-foot office headquarters.

The other two are a 67,000-square-foot industrial spec building and 45,000-square-foot office/flex building. All three should be completed by the middle of 2013. The industrial park will consist of nine buildings once the build-out is complete.

Dyna-Drill, a subsidiary of Houston-based Schlumberger, is moving its headquarters from Houston to Katy in a 300,000 square-foot facility under construction at Grand Parkway and Colonial Parkway.

The company designs and manufactures down-hole motor equipment for the oil and gas industry. The facility is located next to Pathfinder Energy Services—another Schlumberger subsidiary—in what is known as the Katy Technology Center.

The company announced plans to add 100 new jobs in the next three years to join its 500 employees in North America.

Mixed-use developments

One of the most visible and nearly completed projects is the first phase of Katy Ranch Crossing, a mixed-use development on the south side of I-10 between Katy Mills Mall and the Grand Parkway.

Developer Mike Baker said the first phase of the project, a 200,000 square-foot building, will be anchored by The Main Event, a bowling-centered entertainment venue. Other tenants include Baskins Western and Work Wear, Spec's Wine, Spirits and Finer Food, and Goodwill.

"Goodwill and Main Event are trying to open by the end of the year," Baker said. "The others will open next year."

Phase two will include 300,000 square feet of retail space with medical offices and restaurants. The final two phases will have 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of office buildings and luxury apartments.

"We've got a lot going on with phase II and we hope to break ground next year," Baker said.

He said Katy was an ideal location for the development because of its proximity to Houston and the fact that it is in Texas, "a can-do kind of state."

"This is a good spot and Katy is growing so fast," he said.