Currently, The Woodlands has 34,000,000 square feet of non-residential space with the ultimate projected at 41,500,000 square feet. Dips in the vision for the square footage reflect the 1980s economic crisis and September 11, 2001. Also in the early 2000s, the land for Harper’s Landing, Grogan’s Forest and East Shore were converted to residential. The graph above was plotted using data from The Woodlands Community Facts.
The 32nd Annual Economic Outlook Conference hosted by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce gathered local businesses, community leaders, elected officials, and corporate executives and advisors to provide valuable insight into local community developments and projected economic growth in Montgomery County and Texas. In the midst of a region that got right back on its feet after being knocked down by a devastating Hurricane Harvey, the event theme this year was “Resilient Community, Innovative Future.”
Laura Lea Palmer, Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion for The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership, discussed past and potential future economic growth in the region. She highlighted that our we are currently in a job boom and our local business economy is getting stronger, indicated not only by the large and increasing size of companies in our area, but the increasing diversity of industries here as well.
“The two things I want to point out are the size and diversity of these companies. To have companies this size is really the envy of a whole lot of other communities of similiar size. The other is diversity; you’ll notice that we’re not just energy anymore. You can see education, energy, healthcare, professional services, chemical, banking, hospitality, entertainment, and that’s just in the top 20 [sized companies],” she said.
Within the 75 largest non-retail companies in The Woodlands area, “we’ve gained 3,211 jobs this year…Are we in a job boom? We haven’t seen growth like this since 2013-2014 (3286 jobs)."
In 2013, there were 55 companies with over 25,000 jobs: energy made up 32% of jobs, professional services was 18%, education was 18%, and healthcare was 17%. In 2018, energy is 25%, healthcare is 24%, professional services is 17%, education is 15%. We’re becoming a more diverse community.
“Energy, which makes up the largest sector, is 9243 jobs. When you look at where those jobs are being added, it’s companies that have ties to exploration and production. Healthcare Is our fastest growing industry in this community. From 2013-2018, the amount of healthcare related jobs have more than doubled, growing from 17%-24%,” she explained.
“Are we in a job boom, are we busy, are we creating jobs? The answer is yes, absolutely! Even more importantly for this job boom is creating the diversity in this community that will make us a more resilient community in the future and certainly a more innovative one,” she exclaimed.
Township Board Chairman Bunch spoke about his vision for the community, saying “I want our township to be an example for all the cities in Texas, our country, and the world as well.” The success of The Woodlands is easily summed up but not so easily done, Bunch said. It’s all about “the quality of life, our first-class amenities, our low tax rates, a vibrant local economy and what I call intentional investment," he said.
That “intentional investment” includes expansion of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – making it the number two venue of its kind on Earth – as well as the expansion of The Woodlands Mall, the largest generator of sales taxes in the township. Bunch also pointed out that when residents were asked what words accurately describe The Woodlands, the number one response was "beautiful."
The Woodlands offers a unique suburban lifestyle that is well-suited for businesses, their employees and families. We are known for our pro-business atmosphere, unique class A office space, close proximity to international airports and world-class shopping, as well as fine dining, diverse residential living, championship golf, excellent education and healthcare systems and more.
Employment options continue to grow in The Woodlands. It has been getting better and better for decades. Major corporations locating here allow our young adults to come back home to live, work and play. Both my son and daughter ultimately moved back to the area because their best job offers were here. You never know how long they’ll stay, but as a parent you hope it’s forever.
If you look the Town Center now is doing very well, and beautifully done. And we won on the mall. We have one of the best malls in the Houston region.
The Town Center has always been planned as a regional center. Today, over 75% of the sales tax receipts come from visitors to The Woodlands. The Town Center is envisioned as a vibrant, urban, mixed-use, pedestrian and transit-friendly downtown, containing not only office and retail uses, but also urban residential, cultural, and recreation uses with a 24-hour activity base.