Published May 19, 2023 by Hailea Schultz
Only 30 miles northwest of Houston is Tomball, an ever-growing, diverse and charming city. The once railroad hub and now foodie destination, is home to many unique and thriving businesses that bolster the city’s flourishing economy, attract people to the area, and contribute to the steadfast growth the city is experiencing.
Due to its advanced infrastructure, improved accessibility and growing economic environment, the city expects its population to expand from 12,000 to 20,000 by 2030, according to the Tomball Economic Development Corp. This, however, is not the first time the city has endured major growth. From 2014-2019, Tomball’s population increased by 20%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tomball’s enticing blend of small-town charm and big-city amenities is causing its younger population to grow. By 2024, people between the ages 20-24 are projected to make up 5.3% of the city’s population and those who are 25-34 will make up 16.1%, as shown in the Esri Demographic and Income Profile report.
Tomball consists of 1,500 businesses, 14,000 employees and a labor force of 5,880. The city’s bustling Business and Technology Park is a driving factor for its successful business community. The 99.5-acre park provides utilities, flexible lot sizes, competitive pricing, and convenient access to David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, Bush Intercontinental Airport and Port of Houston through Highway 249, which flows right into Houston.
At the beginning of 2023, nearly 400 acres of commercial development were set into action, according to Community Impact. That includes a Costco, which is projected to make $651 million in total estimated taxable sales over its first six years, according to its economic development agreement with the city and the TEDC.
Another major development project is the 65-acre, Grand Parkway Town Center located at the intersection of Grand Parkway and Highway 249. Confirmed tenants include Gringo’s Tex-Mex, Chick-Fil-A, Whataburger, Jersey Mike’s Subs, AT&T and more to be announced.
One of the city’s many allures is its large retail sector. With its vast range of shopping spaces and over 50 antique and collectable shops in the downtown area, Tomball residents have quick access to not only essential household items, but also stores for recreational shopping. This is a unique benefit to living in Tomball, as other small city residents usually must travel outside their area to shop. Tomball’s retail sector is a major contributor to the city’s strong economy. The city most recently saw tremendous growth in its sales tax revenue between 2020-2022 with a 34% increase, from $16 million to $21.5 million, according to data from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Tomball has also become a go-to travel destination, with its rich history of German heritage. The city hosts The Tomball German Heritage Festival and Tomball German Christmas Market annually, each bringing more than 50,000 visitors. The city also hosts the Tomball Farmers Market with more than 70 vendors, bringing in over 2,000 attendees to the city every week.
The city has also become a recognized foodie destination with its wide variety of eccentric locally-owned restaurants. People from across the greater Houston region travel to Tomball just to eat at these hidden gems. From barbecue, Tex-Mex and German, travelers can enjoy comfort foods from all cultures.
To support its growing population and booming business community, Tomball has started developing plans to strengthen its infrastructure. The city recently announced its $4.5 million purchase of a 4.63-acre property in the heart of downtown. The property will become a public parking lot, adding 346 parking spaces.
The city has also worked to expand its housing options for the community. Since 2020, Tomball announced over 2,000 new homes planned for construction. The city has also allowed for the development of new rental properties. Haven at Treeline, a new luxury apartment property, has begun construction at Eldridge Parkway. Haven will offer over 200 rental units and is set to open in the summer of 2024.
Additionally, the city has started its first comprehensive 10-year master plan for parks and recreational facilities that will bring more amenities to the community, following its $2.3 million project to upgrade Jerry Matheson Park. One of the main priorities the master plan will work to improve is walkability. Residents have requested improved trails, sidewalks and bike paths for walking, hiking and biking. The master plan is quickly moving, as the draft is set to be presented to the city council in June and possibly approved by July or August.