The soon to be completed $24.9MM Park Row project – one that creates a new east-west transit connection from Dairy Ashford to Katy – netted a notable christening with a luncheon March 6th at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside that celebrated the economic powerhouse West Houston has become.
A veritable “who’s who” of West Houston movers and shakers led a roundtable discussion moderated by David Wolff, chairman and president of Wolff Companies – and one of the early pioneers who invested in the economic potential of West Houston when rice fields, not multinational energy companies, lined the interstate. Now, more than 1 million people live in West Houston.
“I remember around 1972 we’d drive back into Houston at night, past the little town of Katy, which was a rice farming town, and for the next 10 miles it was all rice fields,” Wolff explained. “Until you got to highway 6 you did not see an electric light.”
While the event celebrated the growth of West Houston, the roundtable discussion focused on its future, which panel participants said was bright – thanks to quality schools; master planned communities rife with popular amenities; almost $1 billion worth of world-class healthcare facilities; infrastructure with one of the greatest traffic-carrying capacities of any suburban area; and an educated populace that creates ready recruitment opportunities for companies.
The panel featured Billy Burge, president of the Grand Parkway Association, Larry Johnson, CEO of Johnson Development Corporation, Matt Khourie, CEO of Trammell Crow, Carl Sewell, CEO of Sewell Automotive, and former Harris County Judge and Texas State Senator John Lindsay, who spearheaded the Beltway 8 and Hardy toll road projects. City of Houston Council Member Brenda Stardig and Elyse Lanier, wife of former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, joined the audience.
David Hightower, board of director and president of The Energy Corridor District, which built the final stretch of Park Row, opened the luncheon by telling the full house he’d been working on Park Row for 44 years. The last phase of the project was a seven-year public-private partnership between the District, the City of Houston, Houston Housing Finance Corporation and property owners, he explained.
“The Park Row completion project represents the same type of collaboration between business, property owners and government leaders that have made West Houston what it is today,” Hightower said. “It is the vision and leadership and the ability to work together here that will continue to make West Houston and The Energy Corridor a great place to work, live and invest for years to come.”
After the luncheon, audience members were invited to be some of the first to drive across the new bridge over Langham Creek that now completes a 12-mile thoroughfare parallel to IH-10 from the Shell and ConocoPhillips campuses all the way to Katy.
To view a video about the development and future of West Houston that opened the luncheon, visit here.