Area is prime spot for industrial, manufacturing companies
Toshiba International Corporation completed the most recent of three expansions in the past five years at its 1-million-square-foot, 55-acre northwest Harris County facility this July. The new $20 million facility will allow the global company to expand its manufacturing capabilities and hire 100 new employees to continue serving clients in industries such as oil and gas, mining and mass transit.
Toshiba International Corporation moved into the Houston market 41 years ago and settled on its Houston location off N. Eldridge Parkway near West Little York because of the close proximity to the Port of Houston.
"Now it is ideal in that we are adjacent to the Energy Corridor, which runs off Eldridge and I-10," said Darwin Kosters, assistant control plant manager. "A lot of oil and gas companies are located near this area."
One factor that might play into companies locating on and around FM 529 is the close proximity to residential and commercial entities, said Jack Cagle, Harris County precinct 4 commissioner.
"The manufacturing and industrial side of things is just exploding," he said. "[FM 529] is a great manufacturing corridor."
There are four different plants at the 1-million-square-foot Toshiba facility, and the expansion added about 107,000 square feet of space in which employees will have the space to manufacture additional products.
"We are planning on doubling production output for medium voltage adjustable speed drive assembly," control plant manager Don Robinson said. "We're expanding on all our products, but that will be a huge part of our future here."
The drives cater to oil and gas, mining and water and wastewater applications, but Toshiba also plans to expand manufacturing for mass transit systems, including products such as proportion models that control the speed of a train, Robinson said.
Additionally, Toshiba's Houston plant manufactures products such as induction motors, hybrid electric vehicle motors and uninterruptible power systems.
Toshiba plans to hire about 100 additional employees for the expansion, including positions ranging from engineers to planners to general warehouse positions. The plant will start operations in early or mid-October.
Aside from Toshiba, several industrial, manufacturing and oil and gas companies are located in the southern portion of Cy-Fair, primarily along the FM 529 corridor.
JK Welding opened a new 20,000-square-foot facility in July near Barker Cypress and FM 529. The company originally opened more than 10 years ago and was formerly located on Barker Cypress between Little York and Keith Harrow Road, but outgrew the space needed for custom fabrication and welding.
"[Owner John King] decided 529 is a great area for industrial, and he decided to build his own shop," said Christie Landry, marketing specialist with JK Welding. "I think a lot of companies are trying to build out here."
Owner John King also chose the site because of the easy access to major thoroughfares and the location's better visibility.
JK Welding provides custom fabrication services, but there are two additional companies located at the new JK Welding facility, including its sister company—JR Deliveries, LLC—and Grader Machinery.
"We work with every industry, from construction to oilfield to rigging work," Landry said. "It's a broad range."
The FM 529 corridor is located close-by to two major thoroughfares—Hwy. 290 and Beltway 8. Since FM 529 originates in the east at Hwy. 290 west of Beltway 8, Cagle said he expects that the ongoing Hwy. 290 expansion project will contribute to future growth along the roadway.
"Our corridor here at FM 529 is not only exploding on its own, but Hwy. 290, which ties it into other arteries of the city, is under construction to really help it continue to thrive," Cagle said.