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Northwest Houston leaders hope for higher-paying jobs amid building boom

Jul 07, 2017 - by Buy Nearby

Northwest Houston leaders hope for higher-paying jobs amid building boom

New retail centers and massive warehouses bring continued growth to Spring, Klein, Tomball and Cypress
Updated 12:47 pm, Thursday, July 6, 2017

 SOURCE

Retail and restaurant jobs are aplenty in northwest Houston. But area community leaders are hoping for a rebound among higher paying jobs.

"It's hard to predict what's to come - we still have the Grand Parkway wildcard," said Barbara Thomason, president of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce. "While we have seen a lot of the retail growth, there's still a large expanse of land. That will make all the difference in the world."

 

Shopping centers are popping up throughout the area as a result of the population boom that hit the area over the last several years.

The largest job growth recently is in the restaurant sector, particularly the fast food industry, Thomason said.

"We're not really screaming from roof tops over this type of job growth," Thomason said.

The recent job growth in northwest Houston has been driven by population growth, not industry growth, said Bobby Lieb, director of community and economic development with the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce.

The Grand Parkway Marketplace, located at Spring Stuebner and the Grand Parkway, continues to open new retail stores and restaurants, expanding retail options for thousands of area residents. And due to the demand, Kimco Realty is also developing Grand Parkway Marketplace II across the street from Grand Parkway Marketplace I.

The Market at Springwood Village will open this fall. And new retail and office space is filling up fast in Lakeland Village Center in the Bridgeland master-planned development in northwest Houston, said Heath Melton, vice president of master planned communities, residential development for The Woodlands Development Co., a division of The Howard Hughes Corp.

In addition, warehouse and distribution center jobs are growing in the region - there are two large distribution centers opening soon, which, combined, will bring 3,100 jobs to the area. However, many of those jobs will be lower paying.

Most of the 2,500 full-time employees Amazon is hiring to staff its new distribution center will make between $23,000 to $33,000 a year, according to a report provided to the Harris County Commissioners.

Some of the positions will be managers, however, making $70,000 or more, the report says. Amazon's distribution center is expected to open later this summer at the southwest corner of Interstate 45 and Beltway 8.

And FedEx will hire 600 employees when it opens a new 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Cypress, off the West Grand Parkway and north of FM 529.

Jobs are also growing in construction in the area. New warehouse and distribution centers under development in the region are creating approximately 582 construction jobs in the region, according to market research by Commercial Real Estate Services.

But area community leaders would like to see an increase in higher paying jobs from primary employers.

There are still many office buildings yet to be filled and open land to build on in northwest Houston.

On FM 1960, there are some office buildings that have undergone renovation and some office space available on Texas 249.

"It will depend on what goes in those office buildings," Thomason said.

Job growth in northwest Houston has been about 2.6 percent a year, with that number leveling off by 2021 to 2 percent.

The Grand Parkway has been a major driver of growth throughout the region, with companies and developers scrambling to fill demand for a booming population.

"The job growth is probably going to continue until the Grand Parkway and other parcels are built out," Thomason said. "I think we'll continue to see healthy growth in housing too."

Job growth:

Amazon is hiring 2,500 employees to staff its distribution center opening later this summer at the southwest corner of Interstate 45 and Beltway 8.

FedEx will hire 600 employees when it opens a new 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Cypress, off the West Grand Parkway and north of FM 529.

New warehouse and distribution centers under development in the region are creating approximately 582 construction jobs in the region.

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