During the past 70+ years, your Chamber office has been the rallying point for the many people whose objective it is to benefit our community. The Chamber office is the community reception center for visitors and guests, the planning and work center for more than 1500 voluntary members and the business center for coordinating and directing the program of work. Your Chamber facility should radiate the confidence, capability and excellence that you have worked to instill in your business and a professional environment that meets the standards you have set for yourself, your employees and your businesses.
In September 2017, our Chamber of Commerce took a tremendous step forward in our plans to relocate our facility. We have passed a significant milestone with the actual purchase of land at 825 Rollingbrook Dr. (directly west of Texas First Bank). This places us in the center of the community for the convenience of our membership.
We have proceeded with the project because of the strong support that you, the membership, have indicated. Baytown is rapidly growing and our Chamber is growing with it. We are now in a select group of Chambers in the State of Texas with more than 1,000 member businesses. It is our belief that owning our facility gives the Chamber a more substantial, permanent image in the community and reflects confidence in Baytown’s future as a place to own and operate a business. This decision was not made lightly but has been studied for the past two years by a Facility Planning Committee. We believe owning our own building is a better use of Chamber funds than continuing to lease. It also gives us a facility designed specifically for our organization.
The land was purchased with reserve funds and is owned outright. The cost of the one-acre of property was $175,000. All engineering and architectural plans have been completed and plans are currently in permitting at the city. The total building cost is $1.5 million.
We hope to raise a total of $800,000 with $300,000 already committed. This leaves us with approximately $500,000 to raise. This amount puts us in the range of financing based on current facility costs. The timetable for construction of the building is based on your response to the fundraising campaign. As you can see, you truly control the rate of future progress in making our new facility a reality. We need your help. Your contribution can be paid in a lump sum or in three to four equal installments in 2019, 2020, 2021, etc.
We also have offered naming rights for areas of the new building to include board room, conference room, president/CEO office, etc. We are extremely pleased that ExxonMobil Refining has taken the naming rights for the board room with a major contribution of $200,000 (pictured). Other donors include Community Resource Credit Union, Community Toyota-KIA-Honda, ExxonMobil Chemical and R.D. Burnside. In addition to naming rights, we will have porch squares to advertise your business or to honor someone in the community.
Success requires everyone’s participation! This is our investment in Baytown’s future and the future of our Chamber, and we hope to receive your pledge. If you need more information or if you would like to further discuss the project, we are available to meet with you at your convenience.
Baytown’s growth in recent years has been remarkable, and there is much more to come.
The city’s economy is driven in large part by the oil and gas industries, but there are multiple projects in the works or planning stages that will transform the area.
“Baytown has emerged from its previous role as an industrial town to become the epicenter of economic expansion for the entire Gulf Coast,” said Baytown City Manager Rick Davis. “Its very favorable business climate, high quality of life and strategic location at tip of the Houston Ship Channel will continue to make Baytown a desirable venue for private investment and those simply desiring to shop, recreate and raise a family.”
The most prominent project is the expansion and re-development of the San Jacinto Marketplace mall at the intersection of I-10 West and Garth Road, which will bring a highly anticipated open-air mall concept to the area. The project is expected to be complete in 2022, with more than a million square feet getting developed in three major phases.
“The San Jacinto Marketplace is a regional game-changer, especially for folks from Beaumont to Beltway 8,” Davis said. “It will solidify Baytown’s role as a regional hub for employment, retail and dining.”
In addition to retail stores, the new San Jacinto Marketplace will include more than 20 restaurants, entertainment options, class A office space (approximately 80,000 square feet) and a green space area the size of two football fields that is ideal for concerts and festivals, Davis said. The current mall has been in operation since 1981.
“The mall redevelopment project represents one of the most significant and complicated projects with which the city has ever been involved,” he said. The city has been working with Fidelis Realty Partners of Houston since the company acquired the mall in 2015 and both of them have forged agreements with the mall’s anchor stores.
The mall project ties in with a major road development in the area.
“Over the past several years, the city and its partners have invested more than $70 million in transportation improvements in the area north of Highway 146 and specifically between John Martin Road and Main Street and between Cedar Bayou Lynchburg and I-10,” Davis said. “The marquee project of this endeavor is definitely San Jacinto Boulevard.”
The four-lane boulevard will be open by fall 2019, providing an alternative to Garth Road and linking to the city’s next major growth area.
“Phase 1 of San Jacinto Boulevard was opened in October 2018,” Davis said. “The centerpiece of this phase is a large traffic circle and Sam Houston statue at the intersection of Hunt and San Jacinto.”
The landscaping, lighting and distinctive decor around the statue show the importance of this area “in terms of promoting a higher level of residential and commercial development on Baytown’s northwest side,” Davis said.
In addition, Hunt Road is being expanded to four lanes from Main Street to John Martin Road. The city is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to make changes to I-10 that will shift traffic to the new San Jacinto Boulevard, further easing congestion at Garth Road and I-10, Davis said.
Another major project is the $100 million expansion at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, which recently changed its name from Methodist San Jacinto Hospital. The hospital, which opened in 1948 as San Jacinto Memorial Hospital, became part of Houston Methodist in 1983.
The project features a three-story tower scheduled for completion in summer 2019. The tower will contain an expanded emergency department, inpatient beds, operating rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit. The project also includes the construction of a new outpatient facility hundreds of additional visitor parking spaces.
The project will be a boost to local emergency services agencies. Because the hospital will accept more patients, it will allow local ambulances to get back into service faster, Davis said.
“From an economic development perspective, this investment signals Baytown’s growing prominence on the east side of the metro area,” Davis said. “It represents yet another confirming indication that population and economic growth are going to continue in Baytown for some time to come.”
One already completed part of the expansion project was the opening of a new observation unit in 2018. The unit, which is on the second floor, includes 20 private beds and will include diagnostics, treatment and monitoring, following an emergency department visit.
“We are very excited to offer this state-of-the-art observation unit to our growing community,” said Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital physician Dr. David Morris, the unit’s medical director, during the announcement of the opening.
The city will continue to work with the Baytown Chamber and make sure the lines of communication between the business community and government are strong and active.
“The city remains actively engaged in a partnership with the Economic Development Foundation of Baytown and West Chambers County to present Baytown and our extraterritorial areas as viable and attractive venues for corporate investment,” Davis said. “City leadership is likewise active in the International Conference of Shopping Centers, and it uses that affiliation to promote economic development as well as foster productive relationships with key developers.”
The Chamber is also making a major move – it has purchased land at 825 Rollingbrook Dr. to build a new facility. This places the Chamber in the center of the community, which makes it more convenient for members. The chamber is raising money to complete the building.