By Mary Alys Cherry
The growth of Bay Area Houston is almost beyond comprehension. Everywhere you look either new homes or new businesses are going up, hospitals, even a high school stadium. Massive projects in what was once a cow pasture or prairie a half century ago.
Few would recognize League City if they left the tiny little town 30 some years ago and came back today. The population has grown from a few thousand to almost 100,000.
It started with the development of South Shore Harbour back in the 80s and then Victory Lakes in the 90s. Today we have 800 homes at Hidden Lakes, which set aside 100 acres for commercial development; some 1,850 homes are being built in Tuscan Lakes and 1,400 in Marbella in the Highway 96 area. Did we say Highway 96? That didn’t even exist 30 years ago. It was not built until the mid-90s.
Highway 96 is also the address of the relatively new Education Village, home of Clear Falls High, Bayside Intermediate and Sandra Mossman Elementary Schools, all sharing one big campus.
Barbara Cutsinger, marketing manager for Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, recently put together a PowerPoint for board members listing all the new properties around the area – some planned, some under construction and some still in the planning stages – a great deal of them in League City.
Others in Galveston County’s largest city include:
- UTMB’s $82 million expansion of its League City campus to 142,000 sq.ft.;
- The Crossings Methodist Healthy Living Community, a $75 million project on Egret Bay Boulevard;
- Newport at Marina Bend – a multi-family, 203-unit project on Wesley Drive;
- Watermark at Walker Commons, a 368-unit, multi-family project on 21 acres;
- A 20,000-sq. ft medical/professional complex on FM 646 at Walker Street;
- A 29,000-sq. ft. office/retail project at League City Parkway and Tuscan Lake Boulevard;
Cypress Bay – 99 canal-front lots;
- Pinnacle Park – 100-acre town center on I-45 between FM 646 and League City Parkway.
- Marketplace at Ninety-Six, a $40 million, 38-acre retail project that will be anchored by a 123,000 sq. ft. Kroger and include retail, professional and medical office buildings on League City Parkway, next to the Perry Family YMCA;
- Beacon Island plans both patio homes and townhomes, plus a high rise.
Think Baybrook Mall has a lot of businesses? Take a drive south down the Gulf Freeway past FM 646. If you haven’t been lately, you’ll probably be astounded. What was once just woods and prairies with an occasional mom and pop business, is a thriving city today.
In the space of about a mile, you will find JC Penney, Sears, Best Buy, HEB, PetCo, Pet’sMart, Kohl’s, Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase Bank, Moody National Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Five Guys, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Ross, Whataburger, Super Target, rue 21, TJ Maxx, Famous Footwear, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Shoe Carnival, Chili’s, Denny’s, Quaker Steak and Lube, Jimmy Changas, Sport’s Authority, Edward Jones, Sprint, T Mobile, Sports Cuts and Jack in the Box – all near Victory Lakes Intermediate School in League City.
740 CLC HOMES
Some 740 new homes – from villas to large estates – are being built by Trendmaker Homes and Village Builders on 372 acres at the new area development, The Reserve at Clear Lake City with prices starting at $300,000.
Nearby will be a 300,000-sq.ft. commercial development, Clear Lake Marketplace, which is anchored by a 100,683 sq. ft. HEB grocery store. The commercial tract is in Houston on the northeast and northwest corners of the El Dorado and Clear Lake City Boulevard intersection.
With all the expected additional traffic, the City of Houston is upgrading the roadways, beginning with the extension of Clear Lake City Boulevard from its current four lane terminus east to the intersection of El Dorado Boulevard in Clear Lake. Construction crews were to construct two additional lanes to the north of the existing lanes. The infrastructure improvements are being made in compliance with the City of Houston’s 380 economic development agreement and to support the construction of the new Clear Lake Marketplace commercial development and the Reserve at Clear Lake City residential community, City Councilman Dave Martin said.
One of the area’s oldest schools, Clear Lake High, is getting a $100 million makeover, which is already under way and will give the education facility a completely new look.
Over in Seabrook the City Council has been working diligently, trying to provide a place for displaced businesses to move when Highway 146 is expanded.
One project is the Seabrook Towne Center, a 30-acre development being planned on land between Highway 146 and Repsdorph Road and will include a grocery store.
Construction is under way on The Commons at Seabrook, a 22+ acre development which includes The Towers, a 416-unit luxury multi-family project on 15 acres with a 30,000-sq.ft. commercial reserve on 7.7 acres being developed by New Quest Properties near the intersection of Highway 146 and Red Bluff Road.
Other Seabrook projects underway include:
The 12,000-sq.ft. Tookie’s Seafood under construction on Highway 146;
Chesapeake Bay luxury 55+ community on 12 acres on Repsdorph Road with 259 units – both bungalow and townhouses;
L&A Seafood Retail at 10th and Waterfront Drive.
Kemah Marketplace phase II is planned on FM 518 near SH 146 in Kemah, just west of Walmart. The 14.5 acre tract includes 100,000 sq. ft. of national retailers; Ross Dress For Less is one of the tenants.
Kemah’s new transportation center and city hall at Sixth and Bradford will include 350 parking spaces, which will be good news to Boardwalk visitors.
Clear Lake Shores has completed the infrastructure on its new Town Center on Clear Lake Road at Aspen Street.
Magnolia Court Business Park on 11 acres is planned in Webster near Kobayashi Road.
Clear Creek ISD’s new $39 million, 9,500-seat Challenger Columbia Stadium is still under construction on the west side of I-45 in Webster.
The 60,000-sq.ft. Bay Area Rehabilitation Hospital has just opened in Webster.
Top Golf is under construction in Webster just south of Academy Sports and Outdoors.
The 177-acre destination development Medistar is planning along the Gulf Freeway in Webster is called SpaceWalk. It will include a new hotel and conference center, restaurants, offices, retail, medical facilities – even an amphitheater on the property, which is next to Academy and Top Golf.
Details are sketchy at present but plans are to also feature an 80-foot-tall statue of a space-suited astronaut as a visitor attraction. The proposed 20,000 square-foot facility would serve as an education and conference center.
Artist and concrete sculptor David Adickes, who created the 67-foot-tall statue of Texas statesman Sam Houston in Huntsville has been commissioned to sculpt the towering astronaut. The moonwalker statue may feature an elevator to take visitors up into the astronaut’s helmet, providing them a view of the area surrounding the Johnson Space Center.
And, there are many, many more projects.