Drive around the Five Corners district and you’ll see the signs of a renaissance everywhere you look. New shopping centers. New business parks. New apartment complexes. In the short time since the Five Corners Management District was founded in 2010, the district has quietly created one of the city’s best business climates by improving public safety, cleaning up graffiti and litter, and marketing the area’s low cost and proximity to major business centers. Over the past five years the number of businesses in the district has grown by 19 percent and the number of jobs by 10 percent.
“Five Corners is a great location and a great place to do business,” said Homer Clark, the chairman of the management district. “It’s close to the Medical Center, the Galleria, and we have great access to both airports. It’s a suburban-type area with urban amenities, since we’re so close to everything.”
Working hand in hand with District K City Council Member Larry Green, the district has been able to attract a number of major new businesses. The Houston-based Hines Corporation, one of the world’s biggest developers, is constructing the $75 million Beltway Southwest Business Park on 75 acres of land at the northeast corner of Beltway 8 and the Fort Bend Toll Road. When completed, the park will comprise 950,000 square feet of light manufacturing and distribution space. The first phase of the project, amounting to 350,000 square feet, is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
Also on Beltway 8, between Highway 59 and Highway 288, is the Levey Group’s 5 Corners Business Center, which will add over 500,000 square feet of industrial space. Many other plots of land around the district are also currently under development for retail, industrial, and residential construction. On September 11, Council Member Green led an economic development bus tour of these and other sites for local developers and real estate agents. He said that retail development will likely follow in the wake of the new business parks.
“Obviously, business parks will host employees, and they’ll need places to go to lunch, and other amenities,” Green said. “So hopefully we’ll be able to bring in other businesses because of those developments. We are underserved when it comes to amenities—we need quality grocery stores, we need quality restaurants, and quality shops to serve all the residential development that’s coming into the area.” Median home sale prices have shot up 35 percent in the past five years as homebuyers keep flocking to the neighborhood.
Despite the district’s tremendous growth, Clark believes land here is still undervalued compared to comparable neighborhoods in Houston. “The median value of property here is about half of what it is on the other side of South Main,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why Hines bought their property. The fact that one of the most prestigious developers in the world has decided to do a $75 million project in our community proves this is a great place to do business.”
One of the biggest challenges in selling the district to homeowners and businesses, Council Member Green said, is dispelling misinformation about the neighborhood’s safety. “Our crime rates are some of the lowest in the city,” he said. “The area has never really been marketed before, so essentially we’re going out and telling the story of how great the district is. It’s a great neighborhood that is welcoming to businesses.”