The 2021 Economic Outlook Conference was recently presented by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Over 400 guests attended in person and more than 100 attended virtually.
Following economic and national updates from various speakers – including U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, serving the 8th District of Texas – a regional update was given by Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation, along with co-panelist Daniel Signorelli, President and CEO of Signorelli Company. Carman and Signorelli spoke about collaboration among colleagues and recent forecast trends.
Jim Carman also spoke on the vision of The Woodlands, noting that a true master planned community, The Woodlands, is a community that serves in essence as a self-sustaining ecosystem, one that is well-planned with purpose and vision for long-term, sustainable growth.
As the developer, Howard Hughes’ role in The Woodlands, is unique for a single developer to provide an outstanding quality of life for residents.
“Every part of the development in The Woodlands is thought through – from the infrastructure, mobility and community connectivity to a variety of living options, schools, parks, hike and bike trails, open spaces and urban amenities – everything that helps make up an exceptional lifestyle,” Carman commented. “Then you add in the commercial opportunities, including office, retail, medical and hospitality, and you have a unique master planned community like The Woodlands. Residents can live, work, play, pray, learn and discover here, with an outstanding quality of life.”
Howard Hughes also believes the role as developer of The Woodlands is both a great opportunity and a great responsibility.
“We take an extremely thoughtful and patient approach, in following founder George Mitchell’s vision. We want to develop the right projects, the right way, at the right time. We do not develop an individual piece of property without thinking through how it fits into the community as a whole and how it will evolve and contribute to the community’s longevity and sustainability. There are no “one-off” development projects. We are dedicated to the “long term” vision of The Woodlands,” noted Carman.
Carman also discussed the new advancements in COVID-19 safety protocols into new and existing properties, such as a touchless digital directory with the capability to receive directory information on a smart phone or options for a touch directory at 1400 Woodloch Forest building. He also mentioned the new multifamily development, The Lane at Waterway, which included enhancements such as a touchless main entry door, so residents and guests are able to enter the main lobby without touching a door handle; common area air conditioning that is treated with ionization devices; apartment entry door hardware that is fabricated with antimicrobial coatings; and common area restrooms with touchless faucets and toilets. He also mentioned co-working space at both multifamily residences, Two Lakes Edge and The Lane at Waterway, and private offices available to residents at The Lane at Waterway.
Carman outlined trends of companies returning to the office, focusing on natural, open-air settings and health and wellness initiatives, which the office portfolio of Howard Hughes offers its tenants including fitness centers and Class AAA and Class A offices located near amenities in walkable settings. The Woodlands highlights outdoors, offering nearly 28% of open space including 220 miles of hike-and-bike trails, 148 parks and forest preserves.
Many speakers recognized The Woodlands as recently being ranked as the #1 Best City to Live in America, ranked by Niche.com.
“As you may have seen, The Woodlands was recently named the best community to live in the U.S. We believe this is a direct result of Howard Hughes’ commitment to maintaining a tradition of continuous growth that provides more amenities while maintaining the original vision of 1.5 jobs per household in The Woodlands,” said Carman. “Our work is more meaningful than just a collection of isolated projects. In fact, our role is more of a stewardship—thoughtfully curating the community over time.”