Grand Parkway extension sparks development in Katy area

Construction of Grand Parkway, one of many reasons for increased business development in the Katy area. Chronicle Grand Parkway

A Houston-based company that outsources human resource consulting services is preparing to move its headquarters from downtown Houston, to Katy before the end of the summer.

Entrust Inc., which has provided human resource consulting, and benefit management services to clients since 1975, will move into its new 34,000-square-foot headquarters that is being built at the Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway.

Entrust Inc. President and CEO Ed Jacobson said moving the company headquarters would shorten the commute for many employees.

Photo above: Construction crews continue work on the connector from Interstate 10 to the Grand Parkway. Construction of the Grand Parkway north from I-10 to U.S. 290 is called one of the reasons for increased business development in the Katy area. 

“Many of our staff seem to live west of the city,” said Jacobson, who lives in Fulshear. “This shaves 35 minutes off our commute each way.”

Entrust broke ground in January on the new office space, and will relocate 85 employees who will initially occupy 22,500 square feet of the new headquarters, with room to grow in August.

Jacobson said that while the shorter commute is a factor, so is the explosive growth that is happening in Katy.

“This is a tremendous growth opportunity,” Jacobson said. “It’s a very convenient location, and there is obviously explosive population growth. I think it is a good real estate play.”

Other businesses think so, too.

Chronicle Grand Parkway2Katy Economic Development Council President Lance LeCour said the influx of businesses like Entrust has been so brisk that the Katy area is running low on lease space for businesses.

“We are very excited about Entrust, and I am sure they are excited about coming to Katy,” LeCour said.

While moves and relocation’s are only a fraction of the explosive growth in jobs and economic development, the construction of the headquarters is significant to Katy.

Photo at right: Construction crews build a form for a drill shaft that will be buried 95 feet into the ground to support a connector bridge during construction of the Grand Parkway near U.S. 290.

“This will be the first major office complex constructed in the southern part of the Katy Independent School District near the Grand Parkway,” LeCour said.

Southern segments of the Grand Parkway have been under construction since September 2011, and are now moving northward toward U.S. 290.

LeCour said the fact that the construction of the Grand Parkway, which stalled for several years, is back under way, could possibly be a catalyst of the recent growth in Katy.

“I think it helps,” LaCour said. “The Grand Parkway is playing a big role in bringing development here.”

David Gornet, executive director for the Grand Parkway Association, agrees that the new transportation artery is driving economic development everywhere.

Gornet said he has seen the explosion of growth along the Grand Parkway in Katy, and anticipates other communities that are situated along the planned corridor could reap similar benefits.

“What I have shown to folks is what has happened in the past here,” he said.

In Fort Bend County, Gornet noted the number of new subdivisions that emerged because of the Grand Parkway, but he also noted that enormous tracts of land were, and still are, more plentiful in the southern end of the Grand Parkway than they will be going north.

Still, the opportunities for greater economic development along the corridor could mimic the example in Katy.

“I would suggest that we will see similar opportunities arise in other segments as they are opened,” Gornet said.

Segment E, which is under construction, will connect Interstate 10 in Katy to U.S. 290 in Cypress.

In that area, Bridgeland, a master-planned community in the Cy-Fair Independent School District has attracted new residents, but has limited mobility from Fry Road.

But with the Grand Parkway coming online by 2015, that mobility will improve and so will the potential for economic growth, but probably not on the same scale as seen in Katy, Gornet said.

Prime tracts exist along the Grand Parkway just north of Katy, along Segment E, with smaller tracts available along Segment F1 north of U.S. 290 to Texas 249.

Because those tracts farther north are smaller, the growth may not be as substantial, as seen in Katy.

“They may not see the same level of expansion up there, just because of the limitation of someone being able to tailor an investment around a big piece of property that has multiple types of build up, such as retail, residential,” he said. “It is more difficult on a smaller tract.”

by By Bryan Kirk / © 2013 Houston Chronicle
Photos by: Brett Coomer, Staff / © 2013 Houston Chronicle
If you are moving to the Katy Independent School District and looking for information on properties available for sale, please call Michelle Sturdevant at 713 572-5308.  
Michelle Sturdevant Realty Group

Categories: Houston Real Estate News

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: