Business Boom, Urban Growth Shaping Waller County
Historically known for its rural charm, best-in-class manufacturing and Prairie View A&M University, Waller County is transitioning into an urban area.
Positioned just outside Harris County, Waller County is considered the “last frontier for the immediate Houston region.” The county is home to nearly 60,000 residents and over 800 businesses, and the population is steadily growing. From 2010 to 2021, the county’s population increased an average of 2.9% each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county’s compelling blend of accessibility and privacy, along with the many new developments underway, has also driven more people to the area, becoming a hotspot destination to live and work. According to the Waller County Economic Development Partnership, the county’s population is expected to double over the next decade, with over 24 residential subdivisions in development and about 30,000 new homes planned.
One of the county’s biggest allures is its thriving, 4.2 million square foot plant, Daikin Texas Technology Park, located in Waller. Daikin serves as a hub for collaboration and innovation, bolstering one of the county’s largest industries, manufacturing.
The Partnership recently hosted an exclusive tour at Daikin Park, offering members a unique experience to view the facility, learn about the county and meet with some of Waller’s leading business professionals.
"[I am] very happy to have the opportunity to share with Partnership members about our area of NW Harris and Waller County that is attracting manufacturers and will add more than 20,000 homes in the next eight years. This is and will be one of the fastest-growing areas in the Houston region going forward and it will be an exciting ride," said John Isom, Director, City of Waller Economic Development Corp. at the Partnership’s Comfort and Innovation event.
In addition to its dynamic technology park, Waller County’s business community is home to many other large companies, including Grundfos, the world’s largest manufacturer of water pumps, Man Energy Solutions, one of the longest-operating German manufacturing companies, Goya Foods of Texas, the largest Hispanic-owned company in the U.S., Amazon Distribution Center, Igloo Products Corp and more.
Not only does Waller County have a booming business community, but it also houses one of the top universities in Texas and one of the county’s biggest economic drivers, Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). The university contributes over $235 million to Waller County annually and supports over 5,000 jobs in the state.
Since its establishment in 1876, PVAMU has become a diverse, innovative and highly recognized institution, offering over 70-degree programs. Ranked the no.1 “Best Value HBCU in Texas,” no.1 “Undergraduate and Graduate Architecture Program,” and has a Carnegie Tier R2, High Research Activity classification, PVAMU attracts nearly 10,000 students to the county annually.
This year, PVAMU was awarded $20 million by the Texas Department of Transportation to lead the National Center for Infrastructure Transportation. The research center will focus on enhancing the durability and extending the life of the nation’s infrastructure.
“With this investment, PVAMU will be at the forefront of developing cutting-edge technologies to improve our nation’s transportation systems for years to come. We’ll be able to educate and train the next generation of leaders as they continue their research towards greener, safer, and more convenient ways to transport people,” said PVAMU Vice President of Research & Innovation Magesh Rajan, Ph.D., P.E., MBA.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Despite being a 40-minute drive from Houston, residents of Waller County have easy access to the bayou city through Hwy. 290 and Interstate 10. However, as the county continues to grow, the need for better transportation access increases.
Recently, Wolff Companies and the Texas Department of Transportation broke ground on the Hwy. 290 Beacon Hill exchange, designed to improve accessibility in Waller. According to the agreement, the project will include the following:
an off-ramp for a new 290 interchange, named Beacon Hill Boulevard, located west of FM 362
a mile-long U.S. 290 frontage road, connecting Beacon Hill Boulevard to James R. Muse Parkway and
a U-turn under U.S. 290 at James R. Muse Parkway, to aid traffic flow from Beacon Hill toward Houston
“[The interchange] will create a significant economic benefit, providing access to large tracts of land for development, and in turn stimulating future job opportunities, residential alternatives, and tax revenues to both the City of Waller and Waller County,” said Eliza Paul, Houston District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation of TxDOT.
The project follows the purchase of the Beacon Hill property by Wolff Companies, a 587-acre master-planned community that features more than 8,200 feet of frontage road along Hwy. 290 between FM 362 and James R. Muse Parkway. Wolff is also developing a business park on the southern side of the land, which will range from light industrial and distribution offices, to multifamily and retail. Last year, Hines acquired 78 acres that will accommodate up to 1.3 million square feet of distribution, manufacturing and logistics space.
As part of its plan to urbanize and to prepare for its future population growth, many new neighborhood developments are underway in Waller County.
So far in 2023, the county announced several new development projects including the following:
Johnson Development Master-Planned Community, Katy: Through a venture with Plow Realty, this unnamed community will sit on a 1,146-acre land tract, accommodating 2,800 homesites.
Gamal Enterprises Master-Planned Community, Brookshire: Adjacent to Dewberry Farm, the popular children’s attraction, this 245-acre community will include up to 2,500 single-family homes on the northwest side of FM 362 and Morrison Road.
Oakwood Estates, Waller: The 171-acre-master-planned community will offer a recreational center, a pool, a 28-acre amenity pond with trails, and easy access to Waller High School and Hwy. 290.
Learn more about the counties that make up the Greater Houston Region.