By Arioinne Nettles
From the September/October 2017 Issue
If there’s one thing currently booming in Tomball, it’s the area’s business economy. Big businesses are relocating to the area on both a national and international scale. With facilities like the Tomball Business and Technology Park, which encompasses nearly 100 acres near the areas major highways, companies are finding this portion of Texas is the ideal address.
Location is one of Tomball’s key advantages, with quick access to other business centers and communities throughout the region. The locational benefit of Tomball has really come into focus because of the Grand Parkway. “The completion of the Grand Parkway this year was a near-instant boom to the local economy because the new highway completely encircles the Houston area, and is literally at our back door. It has been a major catalyst for new commercial and residential development in the greater Tomball area,” says Kelly Violette, executive director of the Tomball Economic Development Corporation (Tomball EDC).
The Grand Parkway, also known as State Highway 99, provides 180 miles of connectivity, with numerous direct connectors to the major Houston-area highways. Shorter travel times and less congestion on roadways represent economic opportunity for Tomball. Existing and prospective businesses now have greater access to service areas and workforce, as well as improved access to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Interstate 45 and Interstate 10.
Tomball is the northernmost incorporated city in Harris County with a population of approximately 11,600. However, there are roughly 479,092 people within a 10-mile radius of the city,” says Violette. “There is a vast population of people that may not live within the city limits, but they shop in our stores, dine in our restaurants, attend our schools, and identify themselves as Tomball residents. We have tremendous support for our local businesses and our city.”
Other advantages that businesses have in Tomball are the financial benefits and personal attention that they receive from resources in the community. Violette added, “there is accessibility to local government here—our mayor, council, and management. That makes a difference in a community because when there is an issue the local leadership is engaged and responds quickly.”
One company that understands the opportunity for setting up shop in Tomball is Packers Plus Energy Services—a Canadian-based oil and gas company that will consolidate its Houston operations to a single U.S. Headquarters campus in Tomball.
Packers Plus bought 17.4 acres in the Tomball Business and Technology Park and recently completed construction on the first of three planned facilities on the campus. The $21-million project will be constructed in phases including the newly completed 50,000-square-foot research and development center, a 237,000-square-foot manufacturing building and a multi-story 40,000-square-foot corporate office building. The company plans to create 353 new full-time jobs in Tomball, 172 of which will be within the first five years.
“For Packers Plus, one of the things they really liked about the Park, in addition to its location, is that it had all the infrastructure in place, which enabled them to begin construction shortly after closing on the land,” says Violette.
General Electric (GE) is another business planning to join the growing workforce in the Tomball Business and Technology Park. The company plans to move its Water and Process Technologies division to the Tomball Business and Technology Park in early 2018.
“We made a decision in 2014 to sell our current site in The Woodlands,” says George DeLong, GE’s global analytical laboratory manager. “…We felt that a change was in order for a new contemporary building with all the recent technological advances.”
Moving to Tomball was the perfect decision for GE—both for the company’s current and future plans. “We looked around for quite some time at different locations in the North Houston area, and the Tomball Business and Technology Park was ideal,” says DeLong. “The location, being so close to the new Grand Parkway, provides easy access for both our employees and customers. The opportunity to be one of the first tenants in the park was also exciting as we were able to choose a location that we felt best fit our needs. We also view Tomball as an ‘awakening’ city that has great potential for growth.”
GE’s Tomball location will consist of a 45,000-square foot laboratory facility that will house 95 employees. “This site is primarily a research and development and analytical chemistry laboratory and will remain our key focus,” says DeLong. “However, it will also serve as a training center and showcase for our customers where we will highlight our chemical and engineering technology.”
Violette says that with room for even more development throughout the area, the future of Tomball is bright. “We are working hard to attract business investments that will produce high-quality employment opportunities and enhance our local economy.”
(Reprinted with permission from SouthComm Publishing Company, Inc.)