Business and Technology Park construction to begin in fall

Construction will begin this fall on Tomball's 120-acre Business and Technology Park, which will capitalize on the growth and expansions of large companies in the area. Tomball's Economic Development Corporation received an $8.5 million bond from the city for the development in May.

"The process is moving very, very quickly," TEDC executive director Kelly Violette said. "We have the money. We are ready to move forward. We've had a lot of interest in the park."

The EDC, which is developing the infrastructure for the park, will continue with the design process through June and take construction bids in July and August, starting construction in late August or September, Violette said.

The Business and Technology Park, at the corner of Hufsmith-Kohrville Road and Holderrieth Road, hopes to capitalize on energy companies in the area such as Baker Hughes, as well as ExxonMobil and Noble Energy's move to the area and attract tenants in oil, energy and medical services.

"Most of the companies that have shown interest in the property are companies related to the oil and gas industry," Violette said.

The EDC expects to sell the first lots by the end of the year.

"The business park will be a big hit; I think that will grow out there real quick," Tomball City Manager George Shackelford said. "And the population will continue to grow with Exxon and Noble Energy. We're going to see more and more people moving here."

Growth

The large corporate moves and expansions are driving population growth in Tomball—projected to increase 20 percent in the next decade, according to data from the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Harris County had the largest numeric increase in population among all U.S. counties between July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012, according to the U.S. Census.

"Our whole area is growing tremendously," Violette said. "I think we hit this at the right time because of the growth we're seeing with Baker Hughes, Noble Energy, Exxon—all the growth coming our way—as well as the infrastructure improvements like the Grand Parkway and Highway 249," said Violette. "It does make me confident we'll be able to sell lots quickly."

City leaders have been preparing for the growth with transportation improvements, adding more schools and streamlining zoning ordinances—all while ensuring the quality of life remains unchanged. In an effort to keep the hometown atmosphere, Tomball holds dozens of outdoor events annually.

"We've tried to keep the small town atmosphere and tried to control the growth so that it does not interfere with our lives," said City Councilman Mark Stoll.