The fastest-growing city in the Houston area continued to change rapidly in 2014.
With an ongoing focus on developing tourism and the arts, Pearland staged its second International Festival in September as well as its second Crawfish Festival that drew more than 15,000 to the city over an April weekend.
The city also has drawn the attention of Houston foodies through reviews and long lines leading to Killen’s Barbecue, 3613 E. Broadway.
The area near State Highway 288, in particular, continued to grow – along with a demand for services. The Westside Library, opened in 2013 to serve the city’s growing west side, became so busy that the city last summer approved an expansion to add 4,000 square feet. The month-long build out took place in November and December. In addition, the city made big strides this year in a sports facility, now under way in Shadow Creek Ranch.
Not every new project on the west side was welcomed by all. A massive mixed use development combining retail, restaurants, a hotel, offices and multi-family housing was a controversial topic among city leaders — but ultimately moved forward with zoning approvals in September 2014. Opponents of the Ivy District warned against traffic congestion and more apartments within the city. The development site is just off 288 in what was once to be the WaterLights District. The WaterLights developer went bankrupt and the site was sold to Modern Green Development.
On the east side, a new, 80,000-square-foot H-E-B Pearland Market opened with much fanfare April 16 off Pearland Parkway.
With so much change throughout their city, Pearland residents opted in 2014 to stick with longtime Mayor Tom Reid, who this year welcomed new City Manager Clay Pearson. Among Reid’s “to-do” list in the coming year and focusing on quality of life and maintaining Pearland’s small town atmosphere.
Meanwhile, new business and industry continued to arrive in 2014. Companies opening locations in Pearland include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which began construction in July on a 26-acre site in the Lower Kirby District.
Base Pair Biotechnologies in April announced the relocation of its office and lab to Pearland.
Fairfield, New Jersey-based Amerlux in February announced plans to build a new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Pearland.
The second of Memorial Hermann’s Convenient Care Centers opened in February 2014 as part of the Memorial Hermann Pearland Medical Complex at 288 and FM 518. The hospital system in June also began construction of a new medical office building.
Memorial Hermann’s 64-bed acute care hospital is set to open in 2015 as part of the Pearland Medical Complex.
New growth and development will continue in 2015, including a number of sorely needed and long-planned projects that will finally come to fruition.
On the drawing board for 7 years, a sports park on Pearland’s west side is scheduled to open by the end of 2015. The Shadow Creek Ranch complex was part of a 2007 bond package, but had been delayed after the economic slump.
Aging campuses in the Pearland school district, including Pearland High, are set to undergo renovations funded by the sale of nearly $35 in bonds. The district is now in the planning and scheduling stages of much needed repairs to PHS’ heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Neighboring Alvin ISD, which serves Pearland’s Shadow Creek area, meanwhile is planning a new high school at Broadway and Kirby. Shadow Creek High is expected to open in 2016.