Economic Climate Overview
The economic momentum of Galveston Island continues at an unprecedented pace. The Galveston Economic Development Partnership (GEDP) represents a broad-based community supported organization dedicated to expanding & diversifying Galveston’s employment and tax bases.
Galveston Island is currently realizing an economic renaissance that has not been experienced in decades. The investment and growth is diversified and comprehensive. Based on the latest GEDP Construction Update, development is occurring at the following levels.
Over $1.7 billion in capital investments
Over 1000 jobs being created or retained
Over 2.8 million square feet of new/remodeled commercial space
Over 4,800 new housing units in planned developments
Galveston’s commercial/retail markets are continuing to see expansions and locations at an accelerated pace. A new retail center, at 61st & Broadway, opened in early 2003 with anchors Home Depot and Target. Additional stores including Pier 1, Payless Shoes, Nextel, Game Stop and others have also opened locations at this center. National retailers continue to be anchored by such companies as Academy, Fuddrucker’s, Office Depot, Hastings, Rain Forest Cafe, Starbucks Coffee, and most recently a Chico’s clothing store. Other major developments include the near completion of Piazza Blanca (a 60,000 SF retail plaza with adjoining condo tower); expansions of Palais Royal and Murdoch’s Bathhouse; and significant redevelopments on the corners of 61st and Stewart Road for Eckerd’s and Walgreen’s. The impact of these projects is reinforced by renovations along the Strand and accelerated investment for the corridors of Seawall Blvd., Harborside Drive and Broadway.
A growing tourism industry means direct economic impact that is positive for Galveston. National rankings in the Cruise industry, convention center developments, hotel expansions and development, and the announcement of a Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort highlight the developments on Galveston Island. Galveston is currently ranked as the #5 port in the country and the #12 port in the world for cruise line passenger volume. Construction has been completed on the new Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis and on the expansion of the Moody Gardens Convention Center. The tourism market in Galveston is benefiting by the increased number of events on Galveston Island, the addition of new hotels/motels, and the continued redevelopment along Galveston’s historic Strand. The latest announcement for Galveston’s year-round tourism market is that of a new, $30 million Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort that will be opened by December 2005.
Evidence of a diversified renaissance is illustrated on Galveston Island by a renewed enthusiasm for industrial projects. Industries that are leading the way include support service for offshore oil & gas, redevelopments at the Port of Galveston & along Harborside Drive, and international prominence in the nation’s effort against bio-terrorism are all found on Galveston Island. Tesoro Marine and M-I Drilling completed a $30 million expansion for offshore oil & gas services. The Port of Galveston demolished a grain elevator for redevelopment and is evaluating responses to the Request for Interest in future port developments. The business owners along Harborside Drive have formalized a new Management District for channel dredging. Gulf Copper has leased a shipyard on Pelican Island from the Port of Galveston and installed one of the two largest dry-docks west of the Bahamas. And, UTMB has been designated as the only institution in the United States to be named both a Regional Center of Excellence and home to the Galveston National Biocontainment Laboratory for our nation’s Biodefense Initiative. The active participation and support of Galvestonians in these endeavors illustrate the comprehensive strength of these developments and their long-term compatibility for Galveston Island.
Real Estate Development
The real estate market on Galveston Island has never looked so promising. Projects have been identified for the east end, west end, major transportation corridors and all points in between. Developments include Anchor Bay, Galveston Bay Club, Stella Mare, Palisade Palms, Beachtown Galveston, Club of the Isle, Beachside Village, Escapes!, Pointe West, Evia, Campeche Shores, The Harbor, and many others. Land on Galveston Island is currently seeing projects that range from single family, high-end multi-family, mixed-use residential/commercial, public/institutional, and mixed-use commercial/industrial. Economic clusters focused on the east end/UTMB; North Broadway/County; Seawall Blvd./City and the West End of Galveston Island are all experiencing an accelerated development schedule for new projects. Highlighting these clusters is the realization that public sector investments generate a greater opportunity for private sector development. Examples of these projects include: Galveston County’s development of the Criminal Justice Center Complex on Broadway; UTMB’s development of their 20-year capital improvement plan on Galveston’s East End; and, construction of the City’s new Convention Center on Seawall Blvd. Development opportunities on Galveston Island are available that unite long-range planning, a business-friendly environment and a proactive business climate.
THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE OF GALVESTON’S INDUSTRIAL, BUSINESS, AND RESIDENTIAL BASE IS STRONG AND POISED FOR EVEN GREATER OPPORTUNITIES IN THE YEAR AHEAD.
WHETHER YOU ARE SEEKING TO ESTABLISH A NEW BUSINESS IN GALVESTON, LOOKING FOR WAYS TO EXPAND OR DIVERSIFY YOUR EXISTING BUSINESS, OR SIMPLY WANTING TO MAKE MORE BUSINESS CONTACTS, LOOK NO FARTHER THAN THE GALVESTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP.
The Mission of the GEDP is to utilize broad-based community support to expand and diversify Galveston’s employment and tax bases.
Larry G. Root, Ed. D., Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Research