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Posts published in “Day: September 17, 2013

Major conference eyes the future of Greenspoint area

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – The Greenspoint District mounted a major conference last Wednesday morning, to examine “The Future of Greenspoint” as development pushes out from the center of Houston to many areas, including Greenspoint and beyond.

The relevance of this panel was underscored by the imminent completion of a large new office center for ExxonMobil Corporation, until now a major tenant in Greenspoint and downtown Houston.

Greenspoint District president Jerry Lowry explained in his opening remarks that it was time to see the positive side of all these changes, and to seek direction and new opportunities.

Participating in the conference were seven representatives of major real estate developers and commercial realty firms that are active in this area and other parts of the city. These included Chip Colvill of Colvill Office Properties, Lee Jeanne of Avison Young, Dan Bellow of Jones Lang LaSalle, Palmer Letzerich of Hines, Zaya Younan of Younan Properties, Bryan Marsh of Digital Realty, and Michelle Wogan of Transwestern, who moderated the panel. Hosting the event was Bisnow’s Will Friends, adding humor and civility to the serious pronouncements.

The discussion was both general, and detailed in some cases, and lasted about one and a half hours.

Lowry presented a slide show that emphasized the strengths of Greenspoint, including location close to the airport, proximity to the seaport, and access to fiber networks on the I-45 corridor. In addition, it was noted that when ExxonMobil vacates space over the next two years, it will present good opportunities for new tenants who desire Class A space. Lowry said that current marketing efforts by the District are focusing on international prospects through trade missions and partners. There is also a major effort to retain current tenants, with interviews of companies to determine and meet their future needs.

It was noted that while Oil and Gas interests were the major tenants in Houston’s past, it is now much more diverse, with the city becoming more of a technology center. To this end, innovation will drive the growth, said Dan Bellow. Bryan Marsh said that his property at the northwest corner of I-45 and Beltway 8 is indicative of what can happen in the Greenspoint area, with available fibre networks attractive to technology firms.

Some negatives were examined, including the dormant Greenspoint Mall and a high percentage of apartments with a transient population.

Participants agreed that the area can meet its challenges with upgrades to infrastructure, retail and amenities. Future tenants will be seeking power, fiber networking, security, low crime and flood risk, and tax incentives, all of which Greenspoint District and the City can work to provide.

HCC-NE plans expansion of North Forest campus – Three phases to develop whole city block

Houston Community College Northeast reached a milestone that has the potential to impact North Forest and surrounding communities for many years to come. North Forest residents are now able to take advantage of increased training opportunities at the newly renovated HCC North Forest Campus at 6010 Little York Road.

The North Forest Campus, which has completed the first phase of its renovation, also has plans for two additional phases that will renovate existing space and add a workforce building. Additional parking will be added and the existing building will receive an exterior face-lift. Currently the newly renovated space accommodates a full service student service center, student lounge, classroom and lab space, a computer lab and a small business incubator. Workforce programs offered at the campus include EMS, Drafting Technology and introductory courses for energy feeder programs.

Proposed programs for phase two include Cosmetology and Barbering, Certified Nurse Aide, Adult Education programs (GED/ESL) and Health Careers. Phase three calls for an Automotive Technology Facility Center of Excellence, as well as programs in manufacturing, welding, HVAC and plumbing. Expansion plans have been guided by community input from the Blue Ribbon Committee, a group consisting of North Forest residents and community leaders, which has served in an advisory capacity to the college since 2008.

The College moved into the former North Forest ISD administration building in mid-August. “The HCC North Forest Campus will serve as a hub for workforce and academic training as well as a place for the community. We are delighted to be a resource in North Forest,” says Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, president of HCC Northeast.

This semester, the campus has seen a significant increase of students. In particular, students at the North Forest Campus have taken advantage of the energy feeder classes and are on track to continue in their programs at the HCC

Northeast Energy Institute as a part of the Division of Science and Engineering Technologies. These programs lead to employment opportunities as technicians in the oil and gas industry with beginning salaries ranging from $50,000 to $60,000. This opportunity is especially meaningful for those who live in North Forest and surrounding communities because of its potential to provide a pathway for economic empowerment.

The HCC North Forest Campus offers full-day services and provides the community with academic and workforce training during the day,evenings and on Saturdays.

For the latest information on the HCC North Forest Campus, class offerings or registration requirements, call 713.718.8300 or visit