The Lake Houston area offers incredible natural beauty and amenities with quick access to the heart of Houston. Located just 20 miles north of downtown, the area abounds with green space, thanks to Lake Houston itself, the San Jacinto River, greenways, and golf courses. The Lake Houston area is also experiencing population growth and significant economic development. We spoke with Lance Lacour, President and CEO of Partnership Lake Houston, about the region’s growth.
As newly appointed CEO, what are your goals in the first year and what expertise do you bring to Lake Houston from your previous position at the Katy Area Economic Development Council?
This year, we will focus on maximizing experience and expertise in the successful planning and implementation of public/private partnerships. We plan to refine partnership programs and implement operational best practices that support our investors and support the region’s vision as a gateway where local businesses, the global economy and quality of life join.
How does Lake Houston contribute to the fabric of the Houston area?
The Lake Houston Area, or LHA, has many economic and strategic assets that contribute to the fabric of the Houston area. LHA’s main assets are the Houston Airport System, which employs more than 20,758 people; Lake Houston, which is the primary water supply for the Houston area; the San Jacinto River; and Generation Park, which is a mixed-use development and business park encompassing 4,200 acres and a tax base of over $1 billion. LHA has over 8,300 growing businesses, $5.7 billion in consumer spending, a growing population of 294,000 people, and over 150,000 people employed.
What are the unique features that really set this region apart?
A few of our unique features include location and proximity to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, excellent access to major I-69 and Beltway 8 transportation corridors, and access to multimodal transportation (land, air, and sea). We also have a developing international trade corridor between IAH and the shipping channel, as well as Generation Park, and a series of large industrial buildings. The town of Humble, highly educated residents, a wide range of housing choices and planned communities, strong school districts, and access to quality health care and higher education round out what we offer.
Describe the business community in Lake Houston. What are the most active industrial sectors?
There are over 8,300 businesses located in the Lake Houston area employing over 150,000 people. The largest economic sector is services with 3,261 businesses, followed by retail with 1,848 businesses of which 590 are food and beverage outlets. The fastest growing industry sectors include healthcare, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, energy services, life sciences and corporate office.
What drives most businesses to relocate or expand to Lake Houston?
Businesses move and grow here for our world-class, highly skilled and talented workforce of over 2.5 million people within a 45 minute drive; our available buildings and sites; excellent access to major transport corridors and multimodal transport. They are also drawn to our strong school districts and access to higher education; our low cost of living (7.5% below the US average), our exceptional livability and quality of life, which is ranked #1 in Houston by Area Vibes.
What are the 4-5 emblematic spots to visit? Are there any hidden gems people need to know about?
In addition to Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River, the Lake Houston area is home to miles and miles of bike paths and trails, as well as six golf courses. It also has a growing brewery scene that offers fun for the whole family. A few are worth checking out: Ingenious Brewing Company in Humble, Back Pew Brewing in Kingwood, and Lake Houston Brewery in Huffman. In Humble, you’ll find the Humble Museum, the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center, and the Green Oaks Tavern, which features live music in the former Humble City Jail.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Lake Houston right now?
Generation Park is one of the most exciting things on the horizon. It is a planned 4,200 acre development located on Ring Road 8. Generation Park is described as a multi-generational development designed with the flexibility to accommodate growth and filled with restaurants, shops, offices, an expanding trail system and two college campuses, San Jacinto College and Lone Star College. These colleges have platforms designed to work directly with the industries located in the business park to develop a program that meets their needs, generating qualified new recruits and advancement opportunities for existing employees. This month, Unify Energy Solutions is set to relocate its headquarters to Generation Park, making it the 8th company to relocate its headquarters to the development.