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Houston-area EDC builds on rail and oil history
to drive new industrial growth.
Founded by a U.S. congressman known as the “Father of the Port of Houston,”
who brought railroad service to the Houston suburb, Tomball is accustomed
to major activity. In fact, the city was dubbed “Oiltown USA” in the
early 1930s after the forerunner to Exxon started a 100 million-barrel boom. A
strong focus on progress continues today.
“The Tomball Economic Development Corp. works to attract new business
and industry to Tomball by funding targeted infrastructure improvements,
providing incentives for relocations, developing new industrial sites and
marketing the community’s exceptional quality of life and locational benefits,”
says Kelly Violette, executive director of the Tomball EDC.
Completed in mid-2016, the 100-acre Tomball Business & Technology Park
(TBTP) markets to tenants in the energy, oilfield and medical services industries.
Canadian-based Packers Plus Energy Services will open a 50,000-squarefoot
Rapid Tool Development facility there in first-quarter 2017. The company
also plans to construct a 237,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and a
40,000-square-foot corporate office building on site.
An estimated capital investment of $21 million and 353 new full-time jobs
will bring another kind of energy to the City of Tomball, which has grown
almost 50 percent in population since 1990. GE will bring global name recognition
to TBTP, along with $22 million in private capital investment and 75
new jobs. A division of GE Power and Water purchased land there in August
for a 42,700-square-foot office/lab facility, which will open in 2018.
“One of Tomball’s challenges in regards to economic development is the
availability of development-ready sites that are suitable for commercial/
light-industrial users,” says Violette, whose EDC purchased the land for the
park in 2011. “The locational benefit of Tomball has really come into focus
because of the Grand Parkway, the completion of which this year was a nearinstant
boom to the local economy because the new highway completely encircles
the Houston area.”
The parkway, also known as State Highway 99, provides businesses with
much greater access to customers and the Houston metro-area workforce, as
well as George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Interstate 45 and Interstate 10.
The Tomball EDC has helped relocate nearly four-dozen new companies
and assisted more than 100 area businesses with expansion and improvement
projects. Those projects have produced more than 2,000 new jobs, sustained
1,287 existing jobs and stimulated around $200 million in private capital investment,
according to Violette.