Skip to main content

What Houston Can Look Forward to in 2021 

Published Jan 04, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta

Post Houston atrium

Post Houston interior

A rendering of the interior of Post Houston

Following a year filled with extraordinary challenges, the Houston region is looking ahead to 2021 with cautious optimism. The last 12 months brought significant economic development wins to the area in the technology, new energy and aerospace sectors, among others. But the pandemic-induced recession that gripped the world cost this metro dearly in terms of lost jobs and business. Still, a slew of major projects and much-anticipated initiatives are set to materialize in 2021 as Houston works toward a broad recovery. 

The Vaccine Rollout 
Though the deployment of approved COVID-19 vaccines is a global undertaking, the continued recovery of the Houston economy hinges on the effort. Of the 350,000 jobs lost early in the pandemic, Houston-area employers have added back about half that figure. Partnership Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowski forecasts the region could regain another 35,000 to 52,000 jobs, mainly in the latter half of 2021. But the final figure depends heavily on efficiency of the vaccine rollout. “As the pandemic subsides, a wave of pent-up demand will be unleashed,” Jankowski said in December. The sectors contributing most to job growth in this region are likely to be administrative support services, health care and social assistance, and manufacturing and professional services, according to the forecast

87th legislative Session 
State lawmakers face some difficult decisions when the 87th Texas Legislative Session gets underway January 12. The pandemic has taken a big bite out of state revenue and that could prompt budget cuts out of Austin in key areas. The Partnership has released its Texas Legislative Agenda that focuses on two broad executive priorities—access and energy competitiveness—as well as eight other areas important to the business community. The Access priority includes a focus on policies to improve public education and higher education, narrowing the digital divide and improving access to health care. The Partnership Public Policy team is working closely with lawmakers to help craft measures in each of these areas. 

 

Innovation 

Groundbreaking of TMC3 
Officials at the Texas Medical Center expect to break ground in 2021 on TMC3, a world-class life science complex that will bring together the best minds in medicine across several institutions. The 37-acre project will include shared and proprietary research centers, multi-disciplinary laboratories, health care institutions, a hotel and conference center, retail, and a unique double-helix green space – totaling almost 3.7 million square feet of developed property. TMC officials say the complex slated to open in 2023 will add an estimated 17,000 jobs and $5.4 billion to the Houston economy. 

Groundbreaking of Axiom Space Headquarters  
The company planning to construct the world’s first commercial space station announced in December that it would run the project out of the Houston Spaceport. Axiom Space said it plans to break ground in 2021 on a 14-acre headquarters facility where it will build the Axiom Station and train private astronauts. The move was heralded as a major development in Houston’s bid to reenergize its leadership role in the aerospace industry. Officials with the Houston Spaceport believe Axiom Space’s project could draw suppliers and other companies in the sector looking to capitalize on the region’s engineering and technical workforce. 

The Ion

Opening of The Ion 
Anticipated to become the epicenter of Houston’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem, The Ion will complete major construction in Q1, allowing tenants that include Microsoft, Chevron Technology Ventures and Common Desk to begin their buildouts. The 288,000-square-foot facility located on Main Street in Midtown will offer rentable coworking space for startups, as well as office space for corporate partners and more advanced startups. Ground level retail is also part of the plan from developer Rice Management Co. The Ion will anchor a 16-acre innovation district that will, in time, include additional office space, residential, retail and other components. 

Opening of Greentown Houston 
Just steps from The Ion, Greentown Labs is in the process of converting a former Fiesta grocery store into a second location of its successful climatech incubator. Projected to open in spring 2021, the incubator will provide more than 40,000 square feet of prototyping lab, office, and community space for about 50 startup companies that could total up to 300 employees. Greentown Houston is the first outpost of the Somerville, Mass.-based climatech incubator, which aims to foster emerging new energy companies. It’s a major step in Houston’s bid to help lead the global energy transition to a lower carbon future. The project is the first major addition to Rice Management District’s 16-acre innovation district beyond its anchor, The Ion. 

Opening of East End Maker Hub 
The first of three phases making up the new East End Maker Hub will soon be complete. The 300,000-square-foot project being steered by TX/RX labs and Urban Partnerships Community Development Corp. is going up on Navigation Blvd. in the East End. The expansive makerspace will have dedicated areas for companies operating in 3D printing, fabrication, hardware innovation and more. While the first phase focuses on suites up to 20,000 square feet geared toward an array of uses, phases two and three slated for completion later this year will include dedicated spaces for both light and heavy fabrication as well as crafting suites. The East End Maker Hub will make it easier for local manufacturing startups to secure the space and resources they need for success. 
 

Development 

Montrose Collective

Opening of The Montrose Collective 
In what promises to be a game-changing development for the Montrose neighborhood, a major mixed-use project slated for completion near the end of 2021 will bring together retail, office and civic uses in a multi-structure midrise. The Montrose Collective will include more than 150,000 square feet of space spread across five buildings near the prime intersection of Montrose Blvd. and Westheimer. The project will feature space for up to six restaurants and 15 different retail shops, as well as a new Houston Public Library branch. It’s a level of density not yet realized in the historic neighborhood that, if successful, could prompt other such projects nearby. 

Completion of Texas Tower 
A number of office and residential developments are currently under construction downtown. But perhaps the largest commercial project set to open in the district this year is the 47-story Texas Tower rising on the site of the former Houston Chronicle headquarters. At 1.1 million square feet, the office tower will be the newest jewel in the crown of development company Hines when it opens in Q4 complete with built-in networking spaces, a conference facility, 12th floor public gardens and multiple ground-level restaurant spaces. Already reportedly 40% leased, the debut of Texas Tower will be a test for a downtown district rocked by COVID-19 and the corresponding shutdown of many office and commercial spaces. 

An aerial rendering of Post Houston

Opening of Post Houston 
It’s been more than five years since the former Barbara Jordan Post Office on the northern edge of downtown was decommissioned with developers promising something exciting for the space. That promise will be realized late this year when Post Houston opens with restaurants, an international market, creative workspaces and a 210,000-square-foot rooftop park and garden. Lovett Commercial says future additions to the 550,000-square-foot project will likely include a concert venue and a hotel. Post Houston could prove to be a catalyst for additional projects on the north end of downtown along Buffalo Bayou, an area that has not experienced the same level of redevelopment activity as other parts of the city’s core. It will also create a new destination on the northern end of the city's Innovation Corridor

Phase One Completion of Autry Park 
Rising above the south side of Buffalo Bayou along Allen Parkway, Hanover Company’s Autry Park promises to be an “urban village” complete with more than 1,400 residential units, 350,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of high-end retail—all positioned around a central green space. The 14-acre development is set to open in three phases, with the first phase slated for completion in Q4. It’s one of several high-density developments materializing west of downtown along Buffalo Bayou that aim to take advantage of the waterway and its linear park. 

Opening of Houston Farmers Market 
In a city known for serving up authentic foods from around the world, there hasn’t been a one-stop-shop for experiencing all that Houston has to offer. A three-year effort from developers MLB Capital Partners and acclaimed Houston Chef Chris Shepherd aims to reinvent the Houston Farmers Market on Airline Drive into just such a destination. The first phase of redevelopment of the 18-acre site, including new buildings and public spaces, is now complete. A butcher shop, fast casual and sit-down restaurants are among the concepts set to open first, alongside existing produce tenants and other longstanding vendors. Phase two of the project, which includes an open-air pavilion, one-acre greenspace and retail is also set to come online in 2021. The Houston Farmers Market aims to become a destination for locals and visitors wanting to experience a wide array of flavors and culinary-focused shopping in one place. 

Learn more about Houston as a business destination and living in the region

Related News

Health Care

Houston Hospitals Take Top Honors on Prestigious U.S. News & World Best Hospital Rankings

7/29/21
The COVID-19 pandemic brought multiple challenges to the health care industry. Hospitals and health care facilities across the Houston region showed that they were up to the challenge and continued to innovate and provide world-class medical care.  This commitment to innovative research and quality clinical care were recognized earlier this month by U.S. News & World Report, as Houston’s hospitals moved up in the annual 2021-2022 Best Hospitals national rankings.  Houston Methodist moved up four spots to number 16 on the nationwide list of Best Hospitals. This is the fifth time the hospital has made the honor roll since 2009. Last year, Houston Methodist ranked number 20.  Houston Methodist took the number one spot for best hospitals in Texas.  “This is a tremendous achievement for our physicians and employees who dedicate themselves every day to our patients – especially now as we celebrate this news during another surge in the pandemic. These national accolades are something to be proud of, but most important, our patients are benefiting from all of our hard work. Ultimately, they are the reason we need to be one of the best hospital systems in the country,” said Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist in a press release.  The U.S. News Best Hospitals list also included top rankings for specialties, including cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, psychiatry and oncology.   Houston hospitals were high on the list of top cancer hospitals in the U.S. with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson taking top honors with the number one spot, Houston Methodist ranking number 23 and the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center coming in at number 25.  The Menninger Clinic once again made the top 10 list of the nation’s top psychiatric care coming in at number 8, moving up one spot from last year.  TIRR Memorial Hermann also ranked in the top 10 in a specialty list, moving into the number two spot among the top rehabilitation hospitals, and taking the number one spot for Texas. TIRR has ranked within the specialty rankings since the inaugural list in 1989.  “The methodology for the rankings have evolved to include more aspects of quality in addition to reputation, which is extremely meaningful to our employees and affiliated physicians,” said Rhonda Abbott, Senior Vice President and CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann in a press release. “With our ranking improving this year, it confirms our focus on patient outcomes and the quality of care that we strive for with all of our patients in need of rehabilitation. While the rankings sometimes fluctuate from year to year, they tell the story that we at TIRR Memorial Hermann are leaders in rehabilitation through our focus on research, education, clinical care and advocacy.” Learn more about Houston’s life sciences industry and the world-class hospitals around the region. 
Read More
Economic Development

California Leads Houston HQ Relocations and Other 2020-2021 Highlights

7/28/21
Houston is a proud top global market for headquarters, driven by its low costs of doing business, global interconnectivity and a diverse, top-tier talent pool. The latest Fortune 500 rankings are a testament to Houston's success as a headquarters capital, with 24 of those companies headquartered in Houston. Companies of every size, location and industry recognize the nation's fourth largest city as a top headquarters city.  The Partnership took a closer look at companies who've chosen Houston as a headquarters location in the past year, examining their sectors, origins and the type of relocation. Here are some of the key takeaways: More Than A Dozen Companies Have Relocated Their HQ to Houston  Thirteen companies have relocated their headquarters to Houston since last summer, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, NRG Energy, Axiom Space and Roboze. Another two companies set up their regional headquarters in Houston in the past year (Carbon Neutral Energy and GCP Paper USA), and one has set up their second headquarters in the Bayou City (Avetta). California Top State for Houston Relocations Four companies - Maddox Defense, Sun Haven, Axiom Space, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise - relocated their headquarters from California to Houston in the past year.  Roboze moved their HQ the furthest - about 5,900 miles from Bari, Italy.  Manufacturing Leads Industry Relocation Manufacturing boasts the greatest number of relocations with four companies (Tailift Material Handling USA, Roboze, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. and Sun Haven). Oil & gas (Ring Energy Inc. and Contango Oil & Gas), life sciences manufacturing (Dominion Aesthetics Technologies Inc. and Maddox Defense) and digital technology (Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Avetta) followed closely behind.  Learn what makes Houston an attractive place for headquarters. See the 24 Fortune 500 companies who are headquartered in Houston. 
Read More

Related Events

Executive Partners