There’s no mistaking the fact that the Texas economy is booming. Texas is a very hospitable location for businesses of all sizes and a hotspot for business relocations. Houston, in particular, is centrally located, served by two major airports, boasts one of the nation’s leading medical districts, and located moments from one of the nation’s largest ports. Houston’s professional workforce is highly educated and it’s low cost of living is incredibly attractive to employers and employees, alike.
Still, some business owners are reluctant to move their offices to Houston proper. Traffic is, unquestionably, a big issue. In many areas so is parking. And, as with any inner-city locale, crime can is also an issue in downtown Houston. Fortunately, your business can relocate to the outskirts of Houston and enjoy all of the plusses that Houston has to offer, while avoiding the drawbacks of being physically located in Houston proper. Here are three business-friendly locations very near Houston, but (in terms of livability and quality of life) worlds away from congestion of downtown.
1. The Woodlands
This master-planned community of approximately 94,000 is located less than 30 miles north of Houston (the commute is easy via I-45, which is a direct route from The Woodlands to downtown.) The brainchild of famed oil industry tycoon George Mitchell, The Woodlands was dedicated in the early 1970s. Over the past four decades, it has evolved from a bedroom community to a dynamic community that has attracted scores of businesses, including Chevron Phillips, Maersk Sealand, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Anadarko, McKesson, etc.
This city of around 17,000 is located about 30 miles west of downtown Houston, on the I-10 corridor. Incorporated in 1945, Katy is a co-mingling of the past, present, and future. It’s city limits include the quaint Old Towne Katy area, sprawling high-end master-planned communities, and several corporate headquarters or satellite offices. Notable Katy employers include BP America and a 1-million-square-foot Amazon distribution center. Both, Igloo Corp. and Academy Sports and Outdoors’ corporate offices are located just on the outskirts of Katy.
3. Sugar Land
With a population of approximately 88,000, Sugar Land is a sweet spot for quality of life as it is located less than half an hour drive from downtown Houston. Sugar Land was originally developed in the early 1900s as a sugar plantation and eventually home base for Imperial Sugar. It was incorporated as a city in 1959 and has since attracted major corporations including Fluor Daniel, Schlumberger, and Unocal.
If you’re intrigued by Houston’s economy and pro-business climate but not completely sold on setting up shop in the sprawling hubbub of downtown, keep in mind that the combined Houston Metropolitan Area (with a 2016 population of 6.77 million) covers nearly 9,500 square miles! To put that into perspective, the Houston metro is larger than the state of New Jersey. If you’re leery of downtown, look toward communities on the outskirts for the best of both worlds!