Economic Development

CS primed for bright 2018 – but don’t take our word

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

No one is surprised these days when College Station gets ranked among the nation’s top college towns, as a great place for business, or as one of the best places to live.

The criteria publications and financial websites use to compile those rankings are usually based on data from the past year. The lists are usually divided into population categories, too.

A website called CardRates.com is different. This week it was bold enough to make predictions about what’s ahead by publishing a list of “10 cities Primed for Economic Growth and Opportunity in 2018.” It included cities as small as 5,178 people (Evansville, Wisc.) to as large as 947,897 (Austin).

By now, you’ve probably guessed that College Station made the list. Why else would we be blogging about it? But you may be surprised that we are ranked No. 1.

That’s right. CardRates says College Station’s economy could be as good as it gets in the entire country in 2018. In developing the list, CardRates took factors such as pay, cost of living and unemployment rates into consideration.

Here’s what they had to say about us:

College Station is located roughly equidistant from Houston and Austin. Although the city has seen a population increase of about 25 percent over the last 10 years, College Station, with fewer than 120,000 residents, is large enough to offer city amenities, while still being small enough to maintain that hometown feel.

College Station’s unemployment rate is well below the national average at 2.7 percent, the lowest among the cities on our list, and the median household income has grown more than 80 percent since 2000. The city’s largest employer is Texas A&M University, which has its main campus in College Station, and is nationally recognized as a Land-, Sea-, and Space-Grant Institution.

Here’s the full list:

We already knew we were doing pretty well, but it’s nice – and a bit exciting – to know others feel the same way.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Podcast: Is This A Thing? What you don’t know about Jones Crossing

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Welcome to the very first on-the-road edition of “Is This A Thing?” Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I packed up our recording gear and drove to Austin to talk with Beau Armstrong, chairman and CEO of Stratus Properties, Inc., which is developing the 76-acre tract in College Station at Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Wellborn Road to be known as Jones Crossing.

Armstrong talks about the HEB-anchored development and the kinds of businesses that will (and won’t) appear alongside it. He addresses the significance of the location, the family that’s owned it since the 1800s, and what Stratus’s development experience has been like in College Station.

Total run time: 22:00

  • 00:00 — Show open with Nat and Jay.
  • 03:13 — The history of Beau, Stratus and some development highlights.
  • 06:18 — How did College Station get on your radar? (Spoiler: Lots of HEB love here).
  • 09:10 — Why this location is exceptional.
  • 10:06 — The overall vision for Jones Crossing.
  • 11:17 — What you’ll find here, and what you won’t.
  • 12:55 — Can you reveal business names yet?
  • 14:13 — Working the deal with the Jones family, project timeline.
  • 17:34 — About developing in College Station: Good, bad and ugly? Will you do more?
  • 21:00 — Final thoughts from Armstrong and show close.

More information: jonescrossingtx.com

 

Transcript:

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth 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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Podcast: Is This A Thing? Dallis family’s Burger Mojo

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Talk about a down-and-dirty episode…

Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I met after hours in our neighborhood – using a portable recorder – to talk about a new restaurant concept coming to College Station.

It’s called Burger Mojo and is the latest restaurant venture for the Dallis family, which is best known for Cafe Eccell and La Bodega.

“We are very excited to be able to develop this class A location at the main crossroads of our community,” Costa Dallis said. “To be neighbors with both the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel, as well as such a strong local brand as Aggieland Outfitters, is an opportunity we count ourselves fortunate to have.”

Natalie explains what the Dallis family has in mind, where it will go, and how that business will fit into its surroundings.

Total run time: 4:20

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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 serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Podcast: ‘Hotel folklore’: How Embassy Suites built across from A&M

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Whenever we hear about new businesses, it’s typically an initial announcement about what’s coming, where it’ll be and when it’ll open. Maybe you’ll eventually hear about the ribbon cutting, but that’s about it.

In this podcast episode, we talk with Ted Ent — president and COO of Mac Haik Hospitality — about the new Embassy Suites that’s scheduled to open Oct. 2 near the Texas A&M campus. Ted describes how he was able to secure a location that no one thought was available, what successes and challenges were part of the development process, and whether or not College Station has too many hotels.

00:00 – Introduction

01:45 — Ted talks about his background in the industry

03:00 — How did College Station get on your radar?

04:40 — “Folklore in the hotel industry”: How he secured such a prime location.

09:28 — College Station provided the most-pleasant development experience of his career.

13:08 — Ted’s role throughout the development process.

14:53 — The use of a local artist; other Ted touches.

16:30 — The Sabre

17:24 — Challenges along the way (traffic, utilities).

21:12 — Don’t we have too many hotels in College Station?

25:34 — What amenities are needed in the area that don’t currently exist?

29:40 — Show close

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is completing his eighth 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 is also president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Podcast: Is this a thing? What’s coming to CS (episode 3)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This is the third edition of “Is This a Thing?” with Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, who talks about restaurants and retail that are more than just a rumor.

This interview covers a lot of ground — all throughout College Station.

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear to the audio file from your system.

 

00:00 – Opening.

01:57 — Home Depot shopping center: New arrivals, and status of vacant space.

02:47 — Pappadeaux: Yes, it’s still coming…

04:03 — University Town Center: Plans for 70K square feet behind Abuelo’s, etc. Status update.

05:13 — Chimney Hill: Was a thing, then a different thing. Now becoming a third thing. Comments on market forces and on doubling the size of The Republic.

08:30 — Old Albertson’s location. Status update.

10:45 — Embassy Suites: Opening in September.

11:35 — Dunkin’ Donuts: Still a thing, but…at a different location?

12:43 — Century Square: Comments on hotels and restaurant/retail: Porter’s Steakhouse, Piada Italian Street Food, Mo’s Irish Pub, Zoe’s Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Berryhill Baja Grill, Hey Sugar Candy Store, Tiff’s Treats, Subzero Nitrogen Ice Cream, Star Cinema Grille, Merge Boutique, Orangetheory Fitness, Neighbors ER, and 100 Park.

14:55 — Northgate high-rises: $209M in new value currently under construction = 2,700 new bedrooms. Comments on vehicle volume, retail that could follow, and peak property values.

18:05 — Discussions about best uses for the property near IHOP and The Stack.

19:53 — New HEB at Wellborn Road and FM-2818, and what could be in future phases of the development.

22:10 — Tower Point: Restaurants that are coming.

23:28 — Rumors of a second Target? Status of the southeast corner of Rudder Freeway and W.D. Fitch.

25:30 — New construction near Baylor Scott & White Hospital on Rock Prairie Road.

26:12 — Mercedes/BMW dealership and new hotel development.

26:37 — New Academy store and surrounding pad sites.

27:21 — Old Academy location + status of Gander Mountain.

29:08 — TRYP by Wyndham, Urban Bricks, Altitude Trampoline Park.

32:12 — Status of In-N-Out Burger.

34:08 – BONUS.

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth 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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Is This A Thing? What’s coming to CS and what’s not (Episode 2)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In our second episode of “Is This A Thing?,” City of College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz shares the latest info on restaurants, retail and more that appear to be legitimate “things” for the city:

  • 1:49 – UNIVERSITY DRIVE: OshKosh/Carter’s, Pappadeaux, Chimney Hill, Dunkin’ Donuts, Century Square, new high-rise and much more.
  • 12:32 – TEXAS AVENUE: Windham TRYP and new retail/restaurants, Haverty’s.
  • 14:30 – ROCK PRAIRIE ROAD: Planned retail + Smoothie King and four pad sites for casual dining.
  • 16:27 – TOWER POINT: Carp’s Bar & Grill, Freddy’s, Bahama Buck’s, PetSmart, Gold’s Gym, Jimmy Changa’s.
  • 17:13 – CAPROCK: Zaxby’s, Blue Baker, Mad Taco, Brazilian Steakhouse.
  • 18:30 – New Academy vs. old Academy.
  • 20:47 – Proliferation of walk-in emergency rooms.
  • 23:14 – What Nat hopes to talk about next time.

Related Links

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear to the audio file from your system.

 


csf_jsocolAbout the Author

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his seventh 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. He’s a native of Breckenridge.


 

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