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Explore the Region

The 12-county Greater Houston area is one of the largest and most diverse business regions in the nation. Houston's strategic, central location coupled with the infrastructure of four of the country's largest ports, two international airports and major highway and rail service make this a dynamic hub for a large cross-section of industries. The various counties also bring their own characteristics and incentives that attract sectors from advanced manufacturing to biotech. Explore what makes each area of our region unique. 

The 12 Counties of the Greater Houston Region

Austin County
Brazoria County
Chambers County
Fort Bend County
Galveston County
Harris County
Liberty County
Montgomery County
San Jacinto County
Walker County
Waller County
Wharton County

County Spotlight: Galveston

Galveston County is located in East Central Texas and is one of 12 counties in the Greater Houston region. The county, located 80 miles southwest of the Louisiana state line, is comprised of mainland, Galveston Bay and Galveston Island. Galveston, the county seat, is located at roughly the geographical center of the county which is comprised of 450 square miles. The education, service and retail sectors fuel county employment. Galveston County is best known for Galveston Island, one of the most popular recreation and vacation spots in Texas.






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Galveston County Industries & Notable Employers
Galveston County Cities
Galveston County Economic Development Organizations

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Economic Development

Port of Galveston Improvements, Additions Drawing Attention, Opportunity to Galveston

Royal Caribbean’s new world-class terminal at the Port of Galveston has quickly changed the level of opportunity for the port and Galveston County since it opened six months ago. Partnership members recently had the exclusive opportunity to tour the new terminal and hear from Galveston County leaders about economic developments, growth and opportunities around the county. The panel included Laura Camcioglu, Director of Special Projects with the Port of Galveston, Dane Carlson, Director of Economic Development with Galveston County and Keith Gray, Executive Director with the Galveston Economic Development Partnership. It was moderated by Christina Bryant, CEO for Vision Galveston. “The most amazing part is that we started on this process before COVID and during COVID we had to pause,” Camcioglu said. “We didn’t have cruises for 16 months out of the Port of Galveston – cruise lines were suffering, and there were talks to slow down and cut some of the projects we were doing.” She discussed Galveston’s commitment to the project by not allowing COVID to derail it. “Galveston was one of the places that said no, we want to continue this terminal and see this through. We were fortunate to have leadership that continued this project,” adding that the project has drawn focus to Galveston. Camcioglu also shared her excitement regarding the shift to shore power. “Shore power allows the ships to come in and plug into the electricity grid, which reduces emissions they would have had from generators, which is exciting.” She added the port is focused on adapting to cargo ships in another effort to save power. “A cruise ship requires 16 megawatts of power, while a cargo ship requires 1-3 megawatts. The infrastructure and costs of cargo were more feasible,” she said. Galveston County leaders also spent time discussing the incredible opportunities with $115 million project to build a new bridge between Galveston and Pelican Island. The island is home to Texas A&M University at Galveston, Seawolf Park and several maritime industry companies. “One of the greatest reasons this bridge is coming is because it is the key to the development of Pelican Island. It is the last area in this region, Southern Galveston County, that has that much acreage that can be developed in one area,” Gray said. He added there are already many developers planning for the island’s future, but a challenge for the county is the lack of real estate for incoming companies to establish a presence. “Galveston’s challenge in bringing new companies in is that there isn’t anywhere to house them. Some of this property could be used for housing these businesses,” Gray said. Carlson emphasized the high level of interest Pelican Island has created for decades and that the bridge provides a key opportunity. “Pelican Island is the largest piece of undeveloped, industrial land not just in the region, not just in Galveston County but on the entire Gulf Coast – it’s ready and just waiting,” he said. Carlson also discussed the benefits that come with the port’s location. “The exciting thing is, with the Port of Houston it can take a very, very long time to get a ship from the Gulf down through the ship channel and into the Port of Houston, whereas the Port of Galveston and Pelican Island is about 45 minutes from open sea,” he said, adding that they have calculated this shift to contribute towards hundreds of thousands of dollars saved on fuel as opposed to going all the way around to the Port of Houston. The new terminal is just one indicator of the steady growth Galveston has experienced over the past five years. As one of the 12 counties in the greater Houston region, Galveston’s continued development is integral to our region’s long-term success. The port and bridge are just two of the major assets Galveston County has to offer. The Galveston Economic Development Partnership created the Customs House Incubator as a product of the collaboration between the Economic Development Partnership and UTMB’s Center for Business Technology and Development. “We have had a few startup companies apply that we are vetting, and they’ve been related to a dynamic and new type of research. It’s amazing what they are doing,” Gray said, adding the incubator’s proximity to UTMB puts them in a great position for information and resources. The Port of Galveston is Texas' number one cruise port, the fourth busiest cruise port in North America, and in the top ten in cruise homeports worldwide. The port also celebrated one million cruise passengers in 2022 at Terminal 10.
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Economic Development

Galveston Projects Represent Hospitality Renaissance

With hotel occupancy still 4.1% below pre-pandemic levels, the greater Houston area’s hospitality and tourism sector continues to recover its footing from the COVID-19 pandemic. One thriving part of the metro market is Galveston, which is experiencing its own kind of renaissance with multiple new hotel and condominium developments breaking ground or opening within the year.  Joining this new roster of developments is Tiara on the Beach, a 10-story condominium building inspired by the luxury beachside residences and resorts of Miami. Working with architecture firm Place Designers, developer Satya is looking to capitalize on the demand for coastal properties that has increased post-pandemic, with Tiara on the Beach set to break ground in late 2023. Located on Galveston’s West End, prices for the 63 residences available will run upwards of $1 million, with sizes ranging from 1,661 to 4,035 square feet. Amenities will include floor-to-ceiling windows, a 24/7 concierge, private wine storage and a wine tasting lounge, and other resort-style features, including an activities coordinator, fitness classes, dog walking, and housekeeping services. Construction is estimated to take 24 to 30 months.  Not far away, Galveston’s East Beach area is getting a new full-service, resort style hotel that will be comprised of 14 stories and 334 rooms. As part of a joint venture between RREAF Holdings and Innisfree Hotels, the project will be Galveston’s 58th hotel and feature a pool deck, restaurant, family entertainment center, and conference center. Construction started in late February of this year and is estimated to be completed in January 2025. Galveston Park Board CEO Kelly de Schaun said she is looking forward to the project and what it will mean for Galveston’s recovering hospitality business.  Galveston’s Bolivar Beach Club meanwhile will be unveiling its months-long transformation into Camp Margaritaville RV Resort Crystal Beach this November and is being touted as the “perfect beachside camping destination” by developers. Located off Highway 87 near the Crystal Beach Community Golf Course, the resort’s upgrades include a beachside concert and entertainment venue, a Texas-sized pool with a swim-up bar and 60 private poolside cabanas, a large turf playing field, and direct access to 27 miles of Texas beaches. RV accommodations include large concrete pads, high-speed Wi-Fi, branded food and beverage offerings, and full electric, water, and sewage hookups for all RV types. A Fins Bar & Grill and License to Chill Bar will round out the RV resort’s extensive list of amenities.  Set to open this spring, Hotel Lucine near Stewart Beach is a 61-room hotel that will feature private beachfront relaxation and an interior courtyard pool. Originally built in the 1960s as the Treasure Isle Motel, and later the Pearl Inn, Hotel Lucine will pay homage to its mid-century roots through its décor, with natural light, greenery, and warm tones setting the stage for the ultimate beachside getaway. Owned by Dave Jacoby, Keath Jacoby, and Robert Marcus, this boutique hotel project will be a must-visit for foodies everywhere, with its rooftop bar, Den Bar and Restaurant, and The Fancy – an American “fine-ish” dining experience led by executive chef Leila Ortiz. Hotel Lucine will also boast Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel as food and beverage partners. To learn more about Galveston and other counties in the Greater Houston Area, click here.
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