Conference center proposed to serve as a catalyst to anchor economic development in East Montgomery County

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An artist’s rendering shows how the Conference Center will appear after it is built.

The East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID) Board of Directors is exceptionally pleased to announce a 200,000 square foot conference and event center project, which is expected to have an economic impact of nearly $1.73 billion over the next 30 years.

Proposed to be located in the Valley Ranch Town Center Entertainment District, the facility, designed by Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects, Inc. (HHCP), will include a 55,000 square foot ballroom/showroom and nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space, large enough to accommodate major corporate events, trade shows, local and regional youth sporting events, consumer trade shows, galas, wedding receptions, proms and d other private events.

The I-69/Grand Parkway corridor lacks many key services that have held back our community’s growth for decades. Today, retail has come a long way, and so has industrial. The Grand Parkway has made us accessible to many people outside of our backyard. Part of our goal is to extend our impact to EMCID by helping to attract major corporate relocations, employers who will bring high-paying jobs, and growing our “daytime traffic population” which boosts sales tax and success across our region,” said Frank McCrady, CEO of EMCID. “The idea is to create the essentials that make the greater Porter/New Caney area a destination for many, but more importantly, a place where everyone can work, shop, play and even graduate from home! We should be at the top of the list of major job relocations, and this investment will certainly help move the needle forward.

Thanks to newer design technology and equipment, the spaces of the facility are very flexible and easy to transform to accommodate a multitude of events, large and small. As designed, the exhibition hall will accommodate over 6,000 attendees for gatherings and special events and can also be divided into smaller rooms. Two exclusive meeting rooms enjoy spectacular views to the west, south and east of the future entertainment district and a terrace overlooking green spaces. The center includes approximately 25,000 square feet of pre-function space and outdoor lobby and courtyards. Plans also include space for a future full-service conference hotel that will connect to the conference center and an adjoining multi-level parking lot.

“The board has considered the idea of ​​a conference center for several years; EMCID’s current facility, the Atrium Center, which has a combined leasable area of ​​15,000 square feet, consistently turns away business because it’s simply too small for many events with more than 200 people. Each time is a lost revenue opportunity for nearby local restaurants and hotels,” said Brenda Webb, Chair of the Board.

The board began due diligence in 2021 by investigating various conference centers and engaging Hunden Strategic Partners for market analysis and feasibility study. Hunden conducted economic, demographic and tourism analysis, as well as market analysis for convention, event and meeting space demand. Hunden determined that the greater Houston area lacks multi-purpose space that can accommodate groups that cannot host events downtown due to rental rates and hotel prices and that there is high demand for events. on flat ground and field sports.

“Given that the location of the facility would be on the Grand Parkway and Interstate 69 and near restaurants, shopping and a future hotel, the analysis determined that a facility in downtown town of Valley Ranch would have a competitive advantage over other regional facilities,” McCrady said. “EMCID has an excellent relationship with The Signorelli Company, developer of Valley Ranch, and worked closely to determine the feasibility and best location for the conference center. Operating like Randall Reed Stadium before it, the conference center should have amenities and synergies that would not be typical of a project of this scale. Its impacts on hotels, entertainment opportunities, high-end restaurants and more will be thrilling to watch unfold.

Hunden expects the project to generate nearly $1.73 billion in net new spending within the district boundaries, $775 million in net new revenue, and more than 500 full-time equivalent jobs over the next 30 years. direct and indirect to stabilization. The project is expected to generate approximately $35.1 million in sales, hotel and hall taxes for the district.

Although many aspects of the design need to be finalized, construction is expected to begin in late 2022 and open in mid-2024. The cost of the installation, site preparation and furniture, fixtures and equipment is estimated to be around $90 million, while the parking structure is estimated to be around $18 million. The project will be supported by sales tax revenue bonds.

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