Prochazka named director of Planning & Development Services

Prochazka

Jennifer Prochazka will be the next director of College Station’s Planning & Development Services Department, Interim City Manager Jeff Capps announced Friday.

Prochazka has been with the City of College Station for 18 years. She has served as the city’s economic development manager since 2016, but held a variety of positions in long-range planning and development prior to that:

  • 2011-2016:    Principal Planner
  • 2005-2011:    Senior Planner
  • 2002-2005:   Staff Planner
  • 2000-2002:  Planning Intern

In addition to her work with the city, Prochazka has been an adjunct economic development specialist for Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX, since 2015.

“Jennifer has a wealth of experience in municipal planning and economic development, and she’s done a phenomenal job in every role she’s served with the city,” Capps said.

Prochazka earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental design and a master’s degree in urban planning from Texas A&M University, and holds numerous certifications and professional affiliations. She begins her new role on Oct. 1.

The College Station Planning & Development Service Department is currently comprised of more than 40 employees, including the city engineer, building officials, greenways, transportation, land development and long-range planners. The department has a Fiscal Year 2018 budget of $4.3 million.

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Economist: Numbers for Bryan-College Station area remain strong

People are spending their money, staying in hotels and buying things such as cars and houses in Bryan-College Station — all indicators that point toward a healthy local economy.

Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist who spoke to attendees at the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce’s economic outlook briefing Wednesday, said the area has experienced an “extraordinary” economic expansion since 2011. General spending, home sales activity, employment and other indicators Ingham uses to prepare the local economic index sponsored by Commerce National Bank are currently at or near record levels, he said, and growth will likely continue moving into 2019.

Read the rest of the story

 

 

Podcast: Is This A Thing? Krispy Kreme, Lululemon and Spice World

Episode 8 of “Is This A Thing?” finds College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz talking about the status of some restaurants and businesses you’ve heard about for a while, plus new trends that are showing interest in College Station, such as “entertainment uses.”

Listen to the Podcast: Is This A Thing? Krispy Kreme, Lululemon and Spice World

Podcast: Jones Crossing H-E-B built for technology – and pizza

H-E-B’s newest store in College Station is set to open Sept. 12, and there will be striking differences when compared to locations at Holleman Drive and at Tower Point.

In this edition of the podcast, H-E-B Area Community Coordinator Diane Besosa talks about everything from app-based shopping/checkout to the restaurant that will be located inside.

Listen to the Podcast: Jones Crossing H-E-B built for technology – and pizza

 

Texas is CNBC’s Top State for Business

From CNBC:

Riding the rising tide of energy prices—and the job growth that goes with it—Texas claims the top spot in CNBC’s 2018 America’s Top States for Business rankings.

This is familiar territory for the Lone Star State, which becomes the first four-time winner in our annual study, now in its 12th year. But it has been a long time coming. This is the first time since 2012 that Texas has claimed top honors. Not coincidentally, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil—the state’s most important export—peaked at just over $108 per barrel that year, a figure it has not seen since. But it has risen enough—around 60 percent in the last year, powering through the $70 per barrel mark in June—to turbocharge the $1.6 trillion Texas economy.

Read the rest of the story: Texas is CNBC’s Top State for Business in America this year

College Station remains among U.S. cities adding the most jobs

By Jacob Passy, Morningstar

A boom in certain industries means that some parts of the country are seeing remarkable job growth.

Attention job-seekers: Midland, Texas, is hiring.

The Western Texas city, which is home to 136,000 people, has experienced the largest percentage growth in jobs over the past year of any metropolitan area in the country, according to May data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people employed in Midland has jumped by more than 11% over the past year, well above the job growth rate nationwide (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-adds-healthy-213000-jobs-in-june-but-unemployment-rate-backs-up-to-4-2018-07-06).

The U.S. added 213,000 jobs in June, but the unemployment rate rose to 4% last month nationwide after dropping to an 18-year low of 3.8% in May, the Labor Department said Friday.

Nearby Odessa, Texas, wasn’t too far behind — the number of jobs there has risen 4.4% since May 2017. Both cities have a single industry to thank for their employment growth: Oil. The Midland-Odessa region is the heart of Texas’ petroleum industry, and the rising price of crude oil has certainly benefitted these cities though recent price declines could spell trouble.

College towns are also job magnets. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University, and College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, ranked among the top cities nationwide for job growth over the past year.

Metropolitan area  Jobs in May 2017 (thousands)  Jobs in May 2018 (thousands)  Year-over-year change 
Midland, Texas                            92.4                         102.8                  11.3% 
Ocean City, N.J.                          43.1                          46.3                   7.4% 
Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.            99.5                         106.5                   7.0% 
Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.                     137.2                         145.3                   5.9% 
Walla Walla, Wash.                        27.9                          29.5                   5.7% 
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla. 114.6                         119.7                   4.5% 
Gainesville, Ga.                          89.5                          93.5                   4.5% 
College Station-Bryan, Texas             116.6                         121.9                   4.5% 
Odessa, Texas                             72.7                          75.9                   4.4% 
St. George, Utah                          64.2                            67                   4.4% 
Yakima, Wash.                             87.3                          91.1                   4.4%

Such a trend isn’t unique to the oil industry or West Texas though. Domestic travel has increased in recent years — and the expanded tourism revenue has translated into impressive job growth for many cities across the country.

In Indiana’s Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan area, the number of jobs has increased 5.9% over the past year. The city is host to the country’s two largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles — Thor Industries (THO) and Forest River (BRKA). The RV industry has seen shipments of new vehicles spike 12% over the past year, according to the RV Industry Association.

Tourism also enriched the fortunes for the job markets in other cities, including St. George, Utah, a suburb of Las Vegas, Ocean City, N.J., and Destin, Fla.

Original Story: UPDATE: As job growth continues, these cities have added the most jobs

Podcast: How the At Home deal was sealed

Home decor superstore At Home has announced it will occupy the property that was formerly Gander Mountain on Earl Rudder Freeway in College Station. That’s great news for consumers, but also for those in the economic development business since empty box stores along a major highway is not the image you prefer.

 

On this edition of Is This A Thing?, College Station’s Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Oldham Goodwin Group EVP Clint Oldham talk about how the At Home deal came about, how fragile this deal – and all eco-devo deals, to be honest – really was, and how retail attitudes are no longer cowering from The Amazon Effect.

 

 

At Home superstore moving into old Gander Mountain building

A new business is moving into the old Gander Mountain building on Highway 6 in College Station.

At Home is a big box retail chain specializing in home decor products based in Plano.

Formerly known as Garden Ridge, the specialty stores carry more than 50,000 unique items across broad product categories including furniture, garden, home textiles, housewares, patio, rugs, seasonal decor, tabletop decor, and wall decor.

Read the full KBTX Story

College Station named one of America’s top places for small business

Small businesses thrive across America, but some towns are just perfect for a growing business. Topmanagementdegrees.com looked at all the cities in America with between 100,000 and 250,000 residents and ranked them on just how small business friendly they can be. College Station checked in at No. 15 on this list.

The 50 best towns for small business in America

Why doesn’t College Station have a Waffle House?

By , Economic Development Manager

On Monday, I received an email asking a simple question: Why has the City of College Station not reached out to Waffle House or made plans to build one in our community?

Since Waffle House is the mecca of waffle aficionados across much of America, the question is reasonable — and it’s one we hear a lot.

So why don’t we have a Waffle House?

Restaurants such as Waffle House are planned and built by private businesses. We proactively recruit many companies, including restaurants, and we’ve pursued Waffle House for several years. Unfortunately, its management has repeatedly said it has no plans to expand to College Station anytime soon.

The role of the city’s Economic Development department is to identify commercially zoned property with good visibility and access that companies such as Waffle House would find attractive. We then help that business navigate our development and permitting processes.

I’m a big fan of waffles and would love to see a Waffle House in College Station. If you have an influential contact who could change the company’s decision and bring a location here, you’d be a local hero.

Get to work!

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