Is This A Thing? What’s coming to CS and what’s not (Episode 6)

It’s been a long time since Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Public Communications Director Jay Socol talked rumors versus reality in terms of restaurants, retail, and more. This episode of “Is This a Thing?” covers a lot of ground, including flip-flop scenarios about In-N-Out Burger.

Using examples of Academy and Gander Mountain, Nat also gives great insight into why vacant properties stay empty so long.

Total run time: 44:09

  • 00:00 – Show open.
  • 02:20 – University Drive: Kinds of businesses interested in University Town Center, its challenges; announcements by fall, then construction.
  • 05:45 – Chimney Hill: The Republic Steakhouse and Primrose Path; drive-thru Starbucks looks like a thing; what else has potential; the REAL story about In-N-Out Burger.
  • 10:36 – Burger Mojo update.
  • 11:50 – Century Square: Review of all the recent openings + what else is coming soon. How sustainable are all these businesses?
  • 15:43 – Northgate: Seeing more restaurants and retail interests. Food truck park. Small grocery has to be on the horizon.
  • 18:15 – Texas Avenue: Ace Hardware, Red Lion.
  • 19:15 – Pappadeaux status.
  • 22:05 – Honest talk about Harvey Road.
  • 26:15 – Why “available” buildings aren’t always…available. Example: The old Academy building.
  • 30:15 – Status of the Gander Mountain building.
  • 32:35 – Jones Crossing: Status of H-E-B and more.
  • 33:37 – Chef Tai’s Urban Table (I botch the name).
  • 34:15 – CapRock and Tower Point: Rx Pizza, Casa do Brasil, Ground Shuttle Transit, The Yard, Bottleneck Wine Bar, offices and more.
  • 36:05 – Gringo’s now has a building permit. Walk-On’s moving forward. TaD’s Louisiana Cooking.
  • 37:05 – Stella (from the owners of Harvey Washbanger’s).
  • 38:13 – New car dealerships.
  • 38:40 – Dunkin’ Donuts — anything?
  • 41:00 – Big boxes hit pause on new developments in 2017. Now, “the Amazon Effect” has forced brick-and-mortar brands to be creative with new online partnerships.
  • 43:51 – Show close.

 

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

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.

 

College Station-Bryan among nation’s best for job growth

College Station-Bryan hits the list at no. 5.

The full story from Governing.com is at this link, but a key excerpt is:

Many of the hardest-hit regions over the decade, such as Rockford and Binghamton, are either manufacturing centers or home to a single industry. By contrast, regions with the top employment gains were college towns or those supported by tech or energy firms. 

Largest Metro Job Losses Top Job Growth Rates
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ -10.7% Austin-Round Rock, TX 31.9%
Binghamton, NY -8.6% Provo-Orem, UT 30.8%
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA -8.0% Greeley, CO 25.5%
Lafayette, LA -7.2% Lake Charles, LA 24.2%
Rockford, IL -6.8% College Station-Bryan, TX 23.3%
Peoria, IL -6.8% Nashville-Davidson, TN 23.2%
Fort Smith, AR-OK -6.6% Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO 23.1%
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC -6.3% Fort Collins, CO 22.8%
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH -6.0% San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 22.7%
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA -6.0% Fargo, ND-MN 20.3%

Top College Town Drawing 55+ Homebuyers

The City of College Station, Texas was named the top college town for homebuyers over the age of 55 by NewHomeSource.com in November 2017.

Click here to learn more.

Podcast: “I had probably the most-pleasant development experience of my career (in College Station)”

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

Uptown University Drive: The Unofficial Entrance to Aggieland

Article excerpt:

…University Drive is now one of the busiest streets in College Station. Chains like Ulta, Home Depot, and Michael’s join locally owned businesses such as Veritas Wine & Bistro, Blue Baker, and Charli women’s clothing store. Both residents and guests have plenty of opportunities to shop and dine along the three-mile stretch. Aggie entrepreneurs are well-represented along the three-mile stretch: Aggieland Outfitters, the Republic Steakhouse, David Gardner’s Jewelers, and Paolo’s Italian Kitchen all the way down to the iconic Dixie Chicken at Northgate.

Student and young professional housing options now line University Drive. Northpoint Crossing occupies the prime corner of Texas Avenue and University Drive. Formerly the location of the Ramada Inn, the student apartments provide housing to hundreds of students as well as retail and restaurant space on the ground level.

Further down the corridor, Century Square is the newest development directly across from the Texas A&M campus. This urban center is located where Texas A&M’s former married student housing once stood. Cavalry Court, a Corps-inspired boutique hotel, opened in November 2016. Across the complex, The George hotel is set to open in August offering an “upscale whiskey and leather” ambiance. The George’s design is a nod to the early beginnings of College Station as part of the railroad routes, says Century Square General Manager John Taylor.

Restaurants and retail will surround the Midway and Valencia-owned hotels. Food locations include Hopdoddy, Zoë’s Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, Tiff’s Treats, Berryhill Baja Grill, Piada Italian Street Food, Mo’s Irish Pub, Sub Zero, and Sweet Paris Crêperie. Retail stores will include Merge, Hey Sugar, and Runway 7. A movie theatre, Star Cinema Grill, will also open around the holidays. Other additions to the urban center include the Breakaway Ministries administrative office, Galleria Day Spa, Neighbors Emergency Center, and Orangetheory Fitness.

Two office buildings will open on either side of The George. A 21-and-older living community, 100 Park is located across the street from one of the office buildings, and offers studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom floor plans…

Full article at Insite Brazos Valley Magazine

 

The Cities Creating The Most High-Wage Jobs

“…we may also see the shift of some business to small and mid-sized cities, which constituted 10 of the top 12 fastest growing areas for business service jobs, led by such diverse places as Wausau, Wisc., Monroe, Mich., and College Station, Texas.”

Four new tenants announced for upcoming Century Square project

The roster of tenants filling out College Station’s forthcoming Century Square added four new members Thursday, including a mix of local and national businesses.

CS City Council approves rezoning for commercial uses along Texas 6

The College Station City Council approved zoning changes Thursday to allow for commercial development on six different properties, half of which have frontage along Texas 6.