Courtesy Tamra Santana, Houston Chronicle
Retail growth continues along FM 2920, as transportation improvements have pushed developers into a flurry of activity.
The opening of the Tomball Tollway and the Grand Parkway have sparked business growth in the area, from new shopping centers to restaurants and grocery stores.
FM 2920 is a connector between major business hubs from Exxon Mobil's campus and Southwestern Energy Co.'s headquarters off Interstate 45 in Spring to Noble Energy's new campus located off Texas 249.
"There is a lot of retail activity and development right now in Northwest Houston," said Barbara Thomason, president of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce. "That's where the growth has been because retail follows rooftops."
H-E-B is opening a new store on April 25 off the Grand Parkway, near Gleannloch Farms.
And Kroger Marketplace will anchor the new Spring Pines Shopping Center, under construction on Spring Cypress and Holzwarth, off FM 2920. The new grocery store will open by the end of the year.
Along with Kroger Marketplace, the Spring Pines Shopping Center will include 50,000 square feet of smaller retailers as well as several pad sites, according to developer RHS Interests. The catalyst for the project was the extension of Holzwarth from FM 2920 to the Exxon Mobil campus just a few miles north, RHS president Robert Schultz said.
The new Grand Parkway Marketplace I, anchored by Target, is nearing completion. The center is located at Spring Stuebner and the Grand Parkway. The 488,000-square-feet Grand Parkway Marketplace I is 80 percent leased, according to Rob Nadler, developer with Kimco Realty.
Due to the demand, Kimco Realty is also developing Grand Parkway Marketplace II across the street from Grand Parkway Marketplace I.
"Infrastructure and roadways are key to growth," said Kelly Violette, president of the Tomball Economic Development Corp. "You see communities that don't have that and when they have populations booms, they suffer. The new Grand Parkway and 249 have worked in our favor. Those are two critical roadways, which all helps to attract new companies. It sends a message of investment in our city."
In addition, the Tomball City Council took steps to ensure business growth is aesthetically pleasing, passing an ordinance that requires new developers build attractive businesses along FM 2920-including adding brick or stone to the front façade.
The masonry ordinance impacts new businesses that face Texas 249 or FM 2920 in the city limits.
"The masonry component was added to make sure we have a standard," Violette said.
New fast food restaurants on FM 2920 all have an upgraded exterior, including McDonalds, Chick-fil-A and Burger King, Violette said.
"It's one of those very small signals to new companies looking to move here and to new residents that there is a level of concern for appearance, and that's great for Tomball," Violette said.
Springwoods Village master-planned community, located just south of The Woodlands in northern Harris County, continues to develop with two new corporate offices under construction and new retail opening this summer, said Keith Simon, executive vice president of CDC Houston, developers of Springwoods Village.
The Market at Springwoods Village, located at the southeast corner of Holzwarth Road and the Grand Parkway, is expected to open in August.
The Market, a 170,000-square-foot shopping center, is anchored by Kroger grocery store. Other retailers and restaurants include Torchy's Tacos, Chick-fil-A, Tarka's Indian Kitchen, MOD Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, Big Salad, Supercuts and Banfield Pet Hospital.
Construction will start soon on a new full-service hotel in Springwoods Village, with completion expected in late 2018. Two other hotels are already open there, including the Residence Inn by Marriott Springwoods Village and a Courtyard by Marriott in CityPlace.