HTC’s New Facility Selected as Spotlight Project by National Association of Regional Councils

The Houston Technology Center’s (HTC) new facility has been selected as one of three showcase projects to be profiled in a national interactive video conference hosted by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC). “Investing in America’s Communities”, moderated by Dr. David Sampson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the EDA, will highlight HTC’s success in harnessing community revitalization and economic development as a catalyst to help Houston maintain its vitality. HTC President and CEO Paul Frison will participate in the interactive conference in Washington, D.C.

Chris McGowan, economic development planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, explained why the HTC project was selected. “This endeavor fits perfectly with the mission of the new administration at the EDA. As they choose where to invest their grant money, they look for projects that are market based; look beyond the immediate economic horizon; diversify the local and regional economy; maximize the attraction of private sector investments; have a high probability of success in order to encourage matching funds; create an environment where high paying jobs are created; have the backing of the local legislative authorities; and maximize the return on the taxpayer’s investment.”

For the last three years, HTC has been the leading resource for starting and growing technology-based companies in Houston, helping create a community-wide climate that fosters technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Throughout those three years, private sector corporations and volunteers have provided the funding, referrals, and other resources that have helped make the HTC a success. So far, working in donated office space, HTC has helped over 30 companies leverage almost 400 million dollars in capital financing, creating or retaining well over 800 jobs.

Because of this rapid growth, HTC needed a permanent facility to further additional client companies and expand their educational outreach programs. Construction and remodeling of the 26,000 square foot building was financed through a $1.1 million grant from the EDA, which was matched by $700,000 from the Midtown Redevelopment Authority. 5,000 square feet of the facility will be used for workforce development for the Hispanic, African American and Asian communities around Midtown. EDA’s grant to the City of Houston was the lynchpin of a carefully crafted financing plan, involving the City, the HTC, and the local Midtown Redevelopment Authority, a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. Close coordination between the EDA regional office, City and the TIRZ officials helped HTC overcome numerous early challenges to make this project a reality.

The Gulf Coast Economic Development District and the Houston-Galveston Area Council plan to encourage other communities in the region to follow Houston’s lead.