Published Jun 26, 2023 by Taylor Tatum
Houston’s Westchase District, a 4-square-mile area of west Houston, is a common destination for many commuters to the Bayou City. Home to more than 1,500 businesses, including many corporate headquarters, the district is a thriving hub for energy, engineering, and construction companies, with access to a talented, highly skilled workforce.
Westchase has proven itself to be a highly competitive area with numerous major headquarters relocating to the district in the past year, including Mattress Firm, Apache Corp, and Bechtel Energy. Home to nearly 17 million square feet of office space and 48 apartment communities, Westchase District is continuing to promote economic growth with long-term plans to diversify its offerings and improve quality of life to become West Houston’s Downtown as a mobile, connected urban center.
With easy access to four major highways, Westchase is Houston’s most accessible commercial district. Its close proximity to the Westpark Tollway, West Sam Houston Tollway, I-10, and US-59 means that Houstonians who live and work in and around the district are never more than 30 minutes away from major destinations and neighborhoods in Houston, including its two major airports.
Westchase’s Long-Range Plan focuses on enhancing mobility for both commuters and pedestrians. To achieve this, the district aims to introduce new local streets that will effectively break up existing superblocks. This thoughtfully planned network of smaller neighborhood streets, situated along property boundaries, will alleviate traffic congestion on major thoroughfares in addition to creating more parking options and foster the growth of mixed-use developments.
Furthermore, Westchase is actively working on initiatives to improve access for bicycles, pedestrians, and mass transit users. These measures aim to create a more sustainable and efficient transportation system within the district.
As a host to two large convention hotels, Westchase District has the capacity to accommodate midsize regional conventions. Moreover, it serves as an ideal supplementary space for national conventions taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The district also offers a range of extended-stay hotels, providing flexible options for business travelers and families relocating to the Houston region.
In addition to its convention facilities, Westchase boasts a diverse array of restaurants that cater to various ethnic cuisines, providing a vibrant dining scene. Food enthusiasts are drawn to the district's weekly Farmers Market, further enhancing the culinary experiences available in the area.
380 Area Agreement
Beginning in 2014, Westchase’s 380 economic development agreement with the City of Houston – similar to a tax increment reinvestment zone – has provided the district with funds for infrastructure projects over the next ten years. To date, these funds have been used for numerous public projects, including roads, parks and greenspaces, trails, drainage improvements, and the redevelopment of older properties.
This funding of public infrastructure has allowed Westchase District to remain competitive with other Houston-area districts by securing long-term commitments with developers, companies, and residents.
Westchase District is actively engaged in the process of renewing its 380 Area Agreement, affirming its dedication to continued progress and collaborative partnerships that will shape the district's future.
As part of ongoing efforts to address its deficiencies in parks and greenspace, Westchase District has set aside millions of dollars in funding to develop more parks. According to Sherry Fox, Vice President of Communications for Westchase District, the area had zero parks a couple of years ago, and it is now home to two parks, three dog parks and five miles of walking trails that connect to the Brays Bayou trail system and Art Storey Park, south of Bellaire.
Woodchase Park, opened in 2021, is the district’s first fully-programmed park, featuring a 7,500-square-foot activity lawn, multi-purpose pavilion, dog park, community garden, exercise stations, and a play area. Recently, Westchase District broke ground on Camden Park, a 3.5-acre greenspace that will feature a 30,000-square-foot lawn space, covered sky terrace, and multi-purpose pavilion. Once completed, it will be the largest park to date in west Houston.
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