Houston as a Tech Mecca – Not “That” Far Fetched



Just days after Houston was named the 4th best city in the United States for women in technology by SmartAsset, Parkway Property Investments lands more technology tenants at fabulous Greenway Plaza. The Houston Chronicle reported AI leader ThoughtTrace, the engineering company DMC, IoT provider Detechtion Technologies, and seven other major technology leaders as tenants. Despite being shunned by Amazon, the Texas energy town could emerge as a glowing tech hub.

Greenway Plaza
Greenway Plaza in the business heart of Houston

Greenway Plaza is a 52-acre master-planned, mixed-use development of 11 buildings and almost 5 million square feet of office space in the center of Houston business. The development includes on- site amenities like fine dining, an underground food court with over 16 options, multiple fitness facilities, three full service banking centers, and unlimited conferencing facilities. The center also has full-service automotive care, commercial printing and graphics services, and a long list of other amenities for tenants and their clients.

Rounding out the list of new tenants were Nuveen Real Estate, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Private Real Estate, Liberty Lift Solution, Texas Installs, NAI Partners’ Investment Fund, TriArc Properties, and SLI Group.

Meanwhile, Houston as a tech professional magnet is not only reflected in the migration of technology firms moving to the city center. The SmartAsset study mentioned above showed that Houston’s tech pay makes the city a standout for men and women. For female tech workers, the usual disparity in pay between men and women is almost non-existent. With a ratio of 99 percent, Houston’s wage gap when it comes to tech jobs ranked the city No. 3 for the smallest wage gap among major U.S. cities.

A long-time energy hub, Houston, is in the process of transitioning to become more of a tech hub through an Innovation Corridor anchored by physical structures being rebooted to push the city forward. Some of the properties being reworked are the 1939 Sears department store at 4201 Main, the former Exxon Mobil building at 800 Bell; and the former KBR complex at the East End.

Even though the city was recently shunned by a “no vote” for Amazon’s HQ2, the city is seeing healthy growth in this sector. The news that digital payments leader Bill.com is moving to the Westchase area of Houston illustrates this too. In addition, the coming Green New Deal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey may just be a cloud with a silver lining for Houston of the energy sector can rethink renewable. Whether it’s the “Trump” energy first way or the opposing “Green Deal” – Houston planners only have to tool up for “next.”

Evidence of such forward thinking comes in the form of a report  by Robert Vaughn, the Houston metro market manager for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. According to Vaughn, Houston actually leads the U.S. in tech job hiring plans for 2019. And despite the fact that Austin is currently a more attractive tech startup hub, Houston has huge advantages thanks to its population and age distribution- With the right incentives by city decision makers, the city could take off to match New York as in the next couple of years. And this, of course, would be a shot in the arm for every Houston real estate metric. Stay tuned, we’ll do more in-depth coverage soon.