Podcast: Is This a Thing? (Episode 10)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this episode of “Is This A Thing?” we share Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz’s recent presentation to the Economic Outlook Conference, which recapped market trends and successes from 2018, along with a look ahead through 2019 and into 2020.

Natalie then took a deeper dive into the city’s emerging Midtown Business Park and why that entire area of College Station is so important to the city’s future.

Total run time: 26:50

  • 00:00 — Show open
  • 01:06 — Set-up to Nat’s recent presentation at the local Economic Outlook Conference
  • 01:36 — Rapid population growth, campus housing
  • 02:53 — Starting to move away from rent-by-the-bed; still a competitive tax rate in CS.
  • 03:40 — $300M+ invested at Century Square alone; $280M additional construction (non-A&M)
  • 05:05 — In FY19, CS has nearly $108M approved for roadway, utility and core facility improvement projects.
  • 05:45 — This year, you’ll see more focus on the customer experience. Second business locations are being seen. Value-retail, too.
  • 06:35 — HomeGoods moving to Central Station Shopping Center, PTL.
  • 07:05 — In 2018, we saw a stabilizing of retail after a battle between online and brick-and-mortar. Even brick-and-mortar is now investing more in online sales.
  • 08:07 — In 2019, we’ll see more convenience opportunities. Scan-and-go, delivery options. More online/brick-and-mortar partnerships.
  • 09:33 — New H-E-B center — restaurants feature large patios to keep you there longer. Events help draw you to these spaces and encourage you to stay. Same with Century Square. Common spaces programmed for the masses.
  • 10:45 — Phase-2 expected at Century Square.
  • 11:05 — New retailers expected to follow the beds in Northgate.
  • 11:11 — Chimney Hill redevelopment continues; New Starbucks there + new hotel.
  • 11:33 — University Town Center continues to move toward the next building phase — will happen near Grub Burger Bar.
  • 12:00 — Second locations at CapRock and Tower Point, such as Mad Taco and Blue Baker.
  • 12:32 — More casual dining is on the way.
  • 12:43 — Midtown College Station details, including roadway and utility expansion. Private development is adjacent to the city’s business park.
  • 14:00 — Southeast Park is in this area, trail system for additional connectivity.
  • 15:23 — Back to Jay and Nat: More about how all the pieces fit together for Midtown Business Park and why you should care.
  • 16:05 — Lakeway Drive extension will open in April. Pebble Creek Parkway extension still underway.
  • 17:05 — From a mobility standpoint, it helps that area of CS significantly. But new infrastructure helps Natalie bring jobs to new landing spots.
  • 18:10 — What is it that we need for our economy that Midtown can help solve?
  • 19:00 — A large commercial tract is on the market in this area, which is something we haven’t previously had a large inventory of. Since commercial development follows rooftops, we need these tracts.
  • 20:05 — There will be a multitude of reasons for people who don’t even live or work in Midtown to go and spend time there.
  • 21:25 — More about Home Goods coming to CS and why these kinds of places are important for us.
  • 23:52 — Update on Chimney Hill: Republic, Primrose Path, drive-thru Starbucks, interest in a hotel there.
  • 23:25 — Update on Jones Crossing: H-E-B running 20% above projections! More restaurants coming.
  • 25:30 — “You go in and freeze it off…” (Thanks, Nat.)
  • 26:50 — Aaaaand we’re out.



About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.



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