Skip to main content

Submarket Spotlight: Katy Area

Published Aug 20, 2019 by A.J. Mistretta

La Centerra Katy
La Centerra mixed-use development in Katy

Located about 30 miles west of Downtown Houston, Katy sits at the nexus of Harris, Fort Bend and Waller Counties. The city, which had an estimated population of just over 18,000 in 2017, is known for its picturesque residential communities that serve as home to employees working along the Energy Corridor and beyond. The one-time railroad town and the area surrounding it is today a hub of retail and industrial development thanks in part to ongoing highway and infrastructure improvements. 

We discussed Katy’s evolution with Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy Area Economic Development Council (EDC)

What has been the biggest recent change that has helped propel the Katy Area EDC’s efforts? 

The completion of the Grand Parkway segment between I-10 and 290 has been a tremendous boon to development north of I-10 along this newly opened transit corridor in the Katy area and beyond. Due to completion of the Grand Parkway, land which was previously not developed due lack of highway access, has now become a hub of activity. A variety of projects ranging from large industrial to residential are currently taking place in this area. 

The expansion of Westpark Tollway west of the Grand Parkway has also been a tremendous project for our area and has contributed to a great deal of growth both residential and retail. 

How has the focus of Katy’s development effort changed through the years?

Initially when I came to Katy Area EDC, we had a strong focus on the energy industry. While the energy industry remains a vital part of the Katy area economy and the Houston region as a whole, we have now placed an emphasis on continued diversification of our local economy. This focus has helped us experience tremendous growth in the medical, industrial and high-tech sectors. We look forward to seeing our economy continue to welcome new types of business while continuing our commitment to supporting the energy industry.

Katy has long been recognized as a residential hub for the region but increasingly it’s become a center of business activity with millions of square feet of office space, industrial etc. What should Katy be recognized for today? 

The Katy area is a great place to live and work. We offer a variety of outstanding housing options, acclaimed Katy ISD Schools, and a great deal of dining and retail options, including LaCenterra

Additionally, with the continued expansion of businesses in our community, we are a community which allows people to live close to work while still enjoying the luxuries of a family-centered suburban lifestyle. 

What do you see as a few of the key advantages that Katy offers? 

The Katy area offers an affordable cost of living with access to one of the best school districts in the State of Texas. The area also has an excellent business environment with affordable office and industrial options, and access to an expansive talent pool.

What are you most excited about in Katy right now?

As an economic development professional, I am incredibly excited to see the continued diversification of business in our community. In recent years, we have seen a variety of businesses choose to locate in the Katy area ranging from large distribution centers to world-class data centers and fin-tech companies. 

What are one or two major changes on the horizon that might help shape the future of Katy?

Leaders throughout the Katy area, including within our organization, continue to focus on infrastructure project advocacy. The advocacy includes flood mitigation as well as mobility projects.  

In both areas, we continue to see a great deal of progress and I am excited to see what the next few years have in store as some of the projects begin to come to fruition. One such example is the Texas Heritage Parkway spanning from Westpark Tollway to I-10 at the Pederson Road. This road will assist in reducing congestion in the area and improving access between two main transit arteries in Westpark Tollway and I-10. 

What do you see as the Katy’s role in the broader economic development efforts of the Greater Houston region?

The Katy area continues to feature an expansive amount of available land. As the Houston region continues to grow, I think the availability of land in our area will continue to be an attractive option for both commercial and residential developers.

Of course, we also believe the industry which made our area what is it today, the energy industry, will continue to serve as a driver for growth in the Houston region with the Katy area at the epicenter of this growth.

Learn more about Katy and the Katy Area EDC. And find out about the region's other submarkets and communities through the Partnership's Regions and Neighborhoods program. 

Related News

Biotechnology

What Does the Word Manufacturing Mean to Houston?

1/12/22
For generations, the word manufacturing was synonymous with places. In Detroit, it meant automobiles; in Ohio and Pennsylvania it meant steel. More recently, in the Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle in North Carolina, it means tech and biopharma. But what does manufacturing mean to Houston?  Houston has long been known as a global energy capital, and the energy industry has certainly played an integral role in driving the economic engine of the Texas Gulf Coast region, and greater Houston, specifically. Fifty years ago, a claim of a diversified Houston economy may have seemed far-fetched. But that is no longer the case. Energy companies across the value stream – upstream (extraction), midstream (transportation and storage), and downstream (refining and manufacturing) – have and continue to grow and create jobs, attracting workers and interrelated businesses to the region; this has generated a complex and far-reaching integrated supply chain of small and mid-size manufacturers and fabricators, vendors, and fixers that support the still-critical energy industry, but also industries that have grown up around it, including health care, transportation, and, more recently, technology.  Today, the greater Houston region is home to more than 6,400 of these manufacturers, which produce a spectrum of products ranging from petrochemicals and plastics to food to medical devices and pharmaceuticals – all worth more than $82 billion annually and making the Houston Metro the second-largest U.S. metro in terms of manufacturing GDP. These companies employ a skilled workforce including nearly 230,000 industrial workers (and growing), making it the country’s fifth largest manufacturing workforce. While economies once overly dependent on a homogenous manufacturing sector work to regain their past prosperity, Houston has a diversified economy, and it relies on a broad manufacturing sector for support. Houston doesn’t necessarily have – or need – a signature marketable manufacturing focus to attract talent and promote job growth. But, in an ever-evolving and more complex global economy, having the diversification of products and services that Houston does is a blessing. As a major logistics hub for the Americas, the Houston region’s ports, railroad network, and airports is an important asset supporting the region’s manufacturers. Houston’s diverse manufacturing base creates a natural hedge as fluctuations in the industries driving the broader American economy continue to ebb and flow. This diversity also presents myriad opportunities for vendors and customers to explore the boundaries of new markets, and for creators and startups to become the next big things as the economy evolves. Manufacturing’s presence also means less risk to outsourcing, low-cost competition, transient workforces, and consolidation. These, in turn, mean more stability long-term, and more jobs. Manufacturing in Houston means biopharma, medical devices, electronic equipment and parts, energy and plastics, logistics and transportation, and food and beverage production – and with a continually increasing population combined with an expanding port of Houston to support these varying areas of manufacturing, the underpinnings are there for continued growth moving forward. In Houston, manufacturing means makerspaces and innovation. It means good jobs. It is multifaceted and evolving all the time, and its future is bright. Learn more about Houston’s manufacturing industry here. The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative serves as a regional backbone to bring together business, education and community leaders, and the public workforce system to develop a skilled workforce and create good pathways to opportunity for all. Learn more and get involved.  
Read More
Digital Technology

Interstate 45: the Country’s Driverless-Trucking Testing Grounds

1/10/22
The stretch of Interstate 45 between Houston and Dallas is becoming a testing ground for driverless 18-wheelers. These big rigs are driving themselves between destinations hundreds of miles apart, positioning the Houston-Dallas corridor as a pivotal setting in the country’s automated vehicle revolution. In September, autonomous vehicle (AV) company Aurora announced a partnership with FedEx and PACCAR to lead their driverless testing. These innovative medium-haul trips are mostly conducted by Aurora’s software, and safety drivers will remain in the trucks into late 2023.  VP of Government Relations and Public Affairs Gerardo Interiano said Texas is the ideal testing ground for Aurora’s trucking service. “Trucking is the backbone of our economy, and Texas moves more goods by truck than any other state,” Interiano said. According to the 2017 U.S. Census, Texas ranked No. 1 in total weight of truck shipments with 1.3 billion tons of goods, establishing its superiority with a 719.4 million-ton margin from runner-up California. Interiano also complimented Texas’ culture of innovation. “It’s a welcoming state for new technologies, which is advantageous as we refine and deploy our technology and service with a trusted transportation company like FedEx,” he said.  In November, autonomous driving tech development company Waymo expanded their partnership with shipping giant UPS to test driverless freight trucks along the I-45 stretch.  Product Manager at Waymo Pablo Abad said the state laws supporting driverless vehicles help the commercialization in Texas. “Whenever we go to a particular market or think about implementing the Waymo driver, we have to look at the regulations to see how favorably they view autonomous tech,” Abad told the Houston Chronicle. “Texas has been very helpful on that side.”  The Partnership supported legislation related to AV operations during the 87th Legislative Session.  Amid the autonomous big rig competition, other AV companies have also announced expansions into the Houston market. Google-backed Nuro, an active member of the Partnership’s Policy Committee, announced an expansion in November, while San Francisco-based Embark Trucks announced their Houston expansion in December.  The AV competition grants Texas a front row seat to the continuing development of autonomous tech, bolstering Houston’s position as an innovation hub.  Learn more about Houston’s innovation ecosystem and what makes the region a great place for business.
Read More

Related Events