Warehouse and manufacturing facilities in demand countywide

Conroe and Montgomery’s industrial sector is thriving with Montgomery Summit Business Park set to open at the end of May and Conroe Park North tenants undergoing expansions.

The first phase of the 96-acre Montgomery Summit Business Park will include one office building and two warehouses, with the first three tenants moving into their spaces in early June, property owner Mike Ogorchock said.

Meanwhile corporations have invested $300 million in Conroe Park North in the past 15 months in the form of new facilities and equipment, which led to the creation of 350 new jobs, said Fred Welch, executive director of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council. Because of the park’s size and flexibility with its plats, companies look to the area for parcels of land where they can grow over 20 or 30 years, Welch said.

“For businesses overall, the business parks offer a manufacturing district in an area where all of the infrastructure is in place,” Welch said. “You know who your neighbors are, and you are not crowded up next to residential areas.”

Conroe Park North

Built in 1996, the 1,045-acre Conroe Park North industrial park is at 58 percent occupancy, Welch said.

“A park like this is a long-term commitment, and the [occupancy] has been pretty well on schedule,” Welch said.

The park has attracted several tenants in the past two decades that have made significant investments. Ball Corporation, a manufacturer of recyclable aluminum beverage containers, is in the midst of a $73.5 million expansion that will create 55 new jobs.

Colorado-based Ball is expanding its metal beverage packaging capabilities, said company spokesman Scott McCarty. It will enable the company to offer more than 20 can sizes and photo-quality graphics. 

“Ball chose Conroe Park North because it offered a great workforce [from Conroe] as well as the room needed to expand operations,” he said.

In addition, oil and gas service company Pro-Directional moved into a new operations facility on 15 acres of land with the park in April. The $116.68 million investment will create 140 jobs in the city, Welch said.

Welch said the park has been successful because it provides an ideal environment for companies to build and grow their facilities. The master-planned park also has covenants and restrictions on everything from landscaping to signage to help maintain the consistent, appealing aesthetics, he said.

Scott Harper, president of the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, said when companies move to the county for its business parks, their presence benefits the community.

“Once they become a member of our community, that’s when we take over on the relationship side,” he said. “Some of the organizations come in [looking for philanthropic opportunities]. We try to facilitate that for [these companies] and engage them in the chamber and community, and to be a liaison to get them in touch with local nonprofits.”

Montgomery Summit

Located along FM 1097 in Montgomery, the Montgomery Summit Business Park can accommodate nearly 600,000 square feet of retail, office and warehouse space. Office spaces are available from 1,500 to 40,000 square feet, Ogorchock said.

The park has almost run out of available space in the first phase of construction, he said.  As of early May, there are four suites left in the park’s existing office-warehouse section. Construction on additional buildings will begin when there are no more than three spaces available.

“For tenants we are also targeting professionals for the offices,” Ogorchock said. “We are going to have an executive office suite where we lease out individual offices for someone who doesn’t want to [commute].”

Shannan Reid, director of the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation, said the park will benefit the Montgomery community, although her office could not provide specific economic benefits.

“As hard as it seems to connect Montgomery with Houston in terms of pace of life, we truly are on a broader spectrum [of] living in Houston’s suburbs,” she said. “As businesses begin to narrow their search for a quality place to relocate, the amenities then become a higher priority [and] Montgomery is high on the list.”

Mike Meador, Montgomery County Precinct 1 commissioner, said construction of new industrial parks can be risky because their success is dependent on demand, but those risks are paying off. He said the growing list of tenants at the county’s business parks shows that as the community continues to build these properties, businesses will come.

“It’s worth the risk right now in Montgomery County to invest some money in these types of parks in anticipation that the industry will come,” Meador said. “They have, and I don’t see that changing.”