What an amazing time it is to be in Baytown, Texas! Our community partners, including the city, the Chamber, the economic development foundation, the school district and the college, are all working together to ensure that Baytown is a quality place to live and to work. Commercial growth is thriving for yet another year.
Many man hours have been spent on making Baytown more eye-appealing with new landscaping in major thoroughfare medians around the community. Even though we experienced a major tropical storm in August 2017, and are still recovering, it has been another growth year for our community!
With an explosion of residential and business growth in our area, we face many challenges. It seems with extensive growth comes many more issues for the community. The city is aggressively addressing the transportation issues to keep up with the traffic volume. They are adding some new streets and regulating the traffic lights on major thoroughfares.
We have recently developed yet another major retail center with the opening of the new H-E-B store. We have seen the development of many new restaurants to include Mambos, Salt Grass Steakhouse, Hooters and more. With the continued growth in the housing market (more than 1,400 new homes), we are challenged to look at the capacity of our schools and face the need for additional campuses. All of these are great problems to have and, as always, our community will work to ensure that all are accomplished.
In any community, it is from the profitable operations of business that all other benefits are derived. Only by succeeding in this fundamental goal can we provide the jobs and produce the wealth to finance all the governmental, civic, educational, cultural and charitable needs that our community is faced with daily.
The Baytown Chamber of Commerce is the catalyst through which the enlightened self-interests of all business groups are welded together to work for the common interest of the total community.
Actually, there is only one basic reason for the Chamber of Commerce to exist! To do whatever is necessary to keep the economic conditions in the Baytown area such that people will be willing to risk their time, talent and money in the hope of making a profit here. We are lucky to have a business community that comes together and supports a strong Chamber of Commerce. The members of the Chamber are here for the right reasons — to make Baytown a better place to live, work and raise a family and to ensure a strong business climate.
So, welcome to our booming metropolis! We hope that if you are a Baytown citizen that you will be an ambassador for Baytown. Talk about the good things happening and what you like the most about living in Baytown. For those of you who are new to our community or are visiting, we say, “Welcome.” We hope you find Baytown to be as family friendly as we do. Please do not hesitate to call and/or visit the Chamber offices in the Amegy Bank Tower, 1300 Rollingbrook, Suite 400. We are always pleased to meet new people and inform them of the things to see and do in our community.
Tracey Wheeler, President/CEO
Baytown Chamber of Commerce
What you thought about Baytown is nothing like what we are becoming. 2019 is not only a new year for the third largest city in Harris County, it is a rebirth of business, infrastructure coupled with maintaining our petrochemical hub for Fortune 500 companies like ExxonMobil, Covestro and Chevron Phillips making Baytown a destination to not only work, but to live and raise your family.
New Shopping Mall
We are about to welcome a new major shopping center in the space that is currently San Jacinto Mall off of Interstate 10. A brand new indoor/outdoor shopping area will include 1.1 million square feet of new stores, 80 thousand square feet of office space located above those stores, possibly 20 new restaurants and a festival and concert area totaling the size of two football fields.
Ode to our History
You should stop and see this! You know that huge statue of Sam Houston on Interstate 45? We just unveiled our very first traffic round-a-bout with General Sam featured on his horse in the middle of San Jacinto Boulevard and Hunt Road. In fact, the same artist who crafted the giant highway statue created this work of art as well. The statue is located near the mall ushering in a new phase of redevelopment in the region. It also points in the direction of the San Jacinto Monument honoring our great Texas History with the birthplace of Texas nearby.
What’s old is truly new again in Downtown Baytown. We are rejuvenating our Downtown district with the renovation of the historic Brunson Theater. Set to open this spring, the Brunson will be the new home to our Baytown Welcome Center. Also downtown, stop for a selfie or a family photo at one of our many colorful murals completed by local artists including our award-winning Umbrella Alley.
As a native of Baytown, I am passionate in the significant growth happening in my hometown. I grew up here and chose to stay and raise my own family. Baytown has a become a place that demands better. Our local Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is expanding to offer world renowned cancer treatments previously only available at the Texas Medical Center. Overall, our great city is becoming better because of the people who choose to call Baytown home. Thanks for visiting!
Mayor, City of Baytown
An Economic Development Foundation Program Report
The Baytown/West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation has endeavored to make the Baytown area the best move for corporate expansion and relocation since 1986. For more than 30 years, our work has focused on creating and preserving jobs by collaboratively anticipating and addressing regional issues, resulting in many of the most prestigious companies selecting Baytown and West Chambers County for new investments, creating broad-based employment for hundreds of people.
We attribute our progress to strong community leadership and supportive financial partners. Guiding the Foundation is a 35-member Board of Directors representing major industry, financial institutions, chambers of commerce, local media, citizens, the City of Baytown, Chambers County and Harris County. Our financial partners include local businesses, Chambers County, Harris County, Port Houston, the Baytown Municipal Development District and Improvement Districts 1 & 2.
In the beginning, we envisioned new businesses setting up shop in the area, existing businesses expanding their operations to Baytown/West Chambers County, and a vitalizing atmosphere in which all industry could prosper. Today we are proud to be working directly with numerous companies that have and continue to invest billions of dollars in our communities, creating and retaining thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in tax revenues. Because our public-private partnership has believed in the Baytown area all along, we have a compelling story about new investment, capital expansions, job creation, generational expansion of the tax base, and mastering challenges on behalf of business.
We believe business – whether it’s an industrial entity, petrochemicals, advanced manufacturing, wholesale distribution, logistics, healthcare, retail or commercial development – can tap its individual potential in Baytown/West Chambers County. We invite you to expand your boundaries and realize the grand possibilities of the area: www.baytownedf.org
Economic Development Foundation
Committed to Business
The Baytown Chamber of Commerce knows business. When it comes to improving the bottom line, meeting new contacts through networking or growing a company, members turn to the Chamber for their expertise.
Membership Service Division
Membership development conducts an organized membership campaign to increase the number of members to strengthen the Baytown Chamber of Commerce and enhance the voice of business.
The ambassador committee works to retain existing Chamber members, including personal visits and other efforts to increase the organization’s visibility. The committee hosts First Thursday Business After Hours, Surprise Patrol, Lunch Mob and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, as well as greets attendees at Chamber functions.
Public Affairs Division
The legislative advocacy committee works to strengthen the Chamber as the voice of business by providing policy recommendations on local, state and national legislation, as well as publicizes policy decisions. The committee also hosts forums for the community on local and regional elections to bring the issues and/or candidates to the voters so that they may make informed decisions on elections.
Community Development Division
The crime prevention and safety committee promotes and assists in continued efforts to make Baytown as safe as possible. The committee is a liaison between law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service, emergency management and business. The committee was instrumental in getting the 1/8 percent Crime Control Prevention District and 1/8 percent Fire Control Prevention EMS District sales taxes passed. These two districts have made it possible to purchase new capital equipment without relying on property tax or bond programs, and put more officers on the street through the hot spot and commercial vehicle enforcement units that monitor the increasing traffic on the truck routes.
The annual Baytown Business Expo gives local businesses the opportunity to exhibit their goods and services to prospective buyers and to educate the public on doing business in Baytown.
Seminars and workshops are offered to members throughout the year, ranging from employment related topics to half-day customer service and motivational workshops.
The Young Professionals Council, ages 40 and under, is designed to educate future business leaders and have them mentor those who are coming up behind them on the importance of community leadership through volunteerism.
Special Events Division
Golf tournament volunteers work to develop a fundraiser that assists in stabilizing the finances and rebuilding the operating reserves of the Chamber. In addition, brings positive recognition to Baytown and gives the opportunity for networking away from a formal business setting.
Epicurean Evening volunteers assist with the annual tasting exposition for area restaurants, giving them opportunities to share menu items with the public and business community, as well as promoting their dining and catering services.
This group promotes a liaison between the business and educational communities by sponsoring programs like Partners In Education (PIE), Capitol Scholars, Texas Scholars and others. In addition, the division chooses six graduating high school students (two from each of the three high schools) and provides them with scholarships to Lee College.
The PIE committee is a subcommittee with Partners In Education participants. It reviews programs with a goal of continual growth and improvement. Their main purpose is to have business partners in the classrooms to mentor and tutor the students in the district.
Dues evaluation participants review the current investment schedule and determine if it is truly a fair-share formula that meets the needs of the Chamber.
Nominating and by-laws members develop and implement guidelines for the nomination of directors and the executive committee, ensuring the continuity of Chamber leadership.
Under this division, is also budget development.
Baytown Parks and Recreation
A huge nature center, water parks and many athletics and recreational areas are available to enjoy in the Baytown area. The Baytown Nature Center, at 6213 Bayway Dr., is a 500-acre peninsula that is part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. The park includes freshwater wetlands as well as a tidal marsh, providing a habitat for more than 300 migrant birds. There are many other animals in the center as well, and it serves as a nursery area for shrimp, fish, crab and other aquatic life.
The city offers two water parks, and Pirates Bay is the largest, covering more than 3 acres. Features include a lazy river that’s more than 650 feet long, large slide towers and a wave pool. Baytown Parks and Recreation also offers 20 miles of trails and over 1,300 acres of park land. The department oversees Town Square in Baytown’s Downtown Arts District; events and amenities at Town Square include the monthly farmers market, ice rink and annual
Christmas Parade. Visit www.baytown.org/city-hall/departments/parks-recreation
Baytown Little Theater
The best in community theater performances – whether a comedy, drama or musical – can be found at the Baytown Little Theater. The all-volunteer group has a considerable pool of talent in the area to draw from for its variety of performances throughout the year. The theater group has been going strong since 1961 and also offers a summer youth camp. Visit http://baytownlittletheater.org
Sterling Municipal Library
Baytown’s local library has almost 175,000 items in its collection that can be checked out, in a facility that covers more than 50,000 square feet. In addition to traditional library items, there is a wide selection of ebooks and digital magazines. With a library card, there are many resource materials in the library and online, as well as special offerings for K-12 students, college students, job seekers and hobbyists. The library building is home to many pieces of art, including murals and sculptures.
Houston Raceway Park
Cars run fast and furious at the raceway, which is a quarter-mile dragstrip in Baytown. The feature of the year is the National Hot Rod Association Racing Series event known as the NHRA Spring Nationals in April. There is plenty of seating – capacity is 30,000 – and there are concession areas available, as well as adequate parking. Other events include the TX2K Roll and Lucas Oil Divisional in March and Import Faceoff featuring exotic and domestic street cars facing each other in a variety of competitions over four days.
Also, every Friday night anyone with a valid driver’s license and a certified race vehicle or street legal car can take unlimited rides down the strip for $20. If you aren’t the straight-line type, then don’t miss the “Greatest Show on Dirt” during the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series” Texas Shoot Out at the dirt track. Something for everyone to enjoy. Visit houstonraceway.com
Baytown Symphony Orchestra
For more than 50 years, the Baytown Symphony Orchestra has showcased the musical talent of local residents, students and selected professional musicians from the area. The symphony is part of the Lee College Visual and Performing Arts department and is conducted by Pierre-Alain Chevalier. The orchestra is supported by the community in the form of ad sales, donations and grants, and offers about four performances per season at Lee College.
Baytown Historical Preservation Association
Step into historical Baytown when you visit the Baytown Historical Preservation Association living history museum at the Republic of Texas Plaza, 5117 N. Main St. The historical preservation association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of structures, artifacts and documents that reflect and represent the history and culture of Baytown, and helps preserve historic homes that are in the park.
These homes include the 1894 one-room Wooster School and 1910 Brown-McKay House. The homes show what rural life was like in the rice farming area that predates the industrialization of the Baytown area. The homes are open to the public from 1 to 3 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month, with free admission. The historical preservation association also can arrange group tours.
Yepez Vineyard is an adobe-style winery that is surrounded by vineyards, creating a true Southwestern experience. Yepez premium wines are all made with Texas-grown grapes. In addition to public and private winery events, Yepez can also be the home to family and company events, corporate meetings and other special occasions. Visit www.yepezvineyard.com/home
Art Center of Baytown
The fine arts have a home at the Art Center of Baytown, which has been at 110 W. Texas Ave. for more than 10 years. The center is a destination for visual arts and offers classes for all ages. For example, ongoing oil painting and watercolor classes are offered, as well as classes for jewelry making, weaving, photography and mixed media.
On Fridays, people can work on their projects on their own schedule. Exhibits rotate at the center, and workshops are often available to the community.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
Texan troops surprised Mexican army soldiers in this historic battle, which helped seal Texas’ bid for independence in 1836. This site in LaPorte, a short drive from Baytown over the Lynchburg Ferry or the Fred Hartman Bridge, includes the San Jacinto Monument, San Jacinto Battleground, Battleship Texas Historic Site and a marsh trail and picnic areas. The base of the monument features the San Jacinto Museum of History, which showcases more than 400 years of the state’s past. There is an elevator available to take visitors almost 500 feet to the observation floor of the monument. The monument also includes a gift shop and area to watch films.
Admission is free, but there is a charge for some extra features. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the monument observation floor and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the battleground and monument and museum
of history. Visit twpd.texas.gov
Battleship Texas State Historic Site
With action in both World War I and World War II, Battleship Texas has quite a storied history. You can explore it at the historic site in the Houston Ship Channel in LaPorte, where it is docked in the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site area.
Visitors can get a guided tour of the battleship or view on their own. Views include the Flag Bridge, which is 60 feet above the water, or below-water sights such as the engine room, sleeping quarters and medical facilities. It is open 10 am. To 5 p.m. daily.
Space Center Houston
You can see the largest collection of spacesuits and moon rocks on public display in the world at Space Center Houston, an immersive learning center for science and space exploration. There are more than 400 things to see and do at the space and science exploration learning center. Educational programs are scheduled throughout the year, as well as simulation experiences via virtual reality and motion simulators. The center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Steve DonCarlos | Board Chair
Reid, Strickland & Gillette, LLP
Dan Helgesen | V. Chair
David Bernard | Vice Chair
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
David Frazier | Vice Chair
Community Resource CU
Mitch Krutilek | Secretary
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
Billy Combs | Treasurer
Combs Commercial Inv Properties
Roger Elswick | Past Chair
Tracey S. Wheeler | Pres/CEO
Baytown Chamber of Commerce
Beacon Federal Credit Union
Bates Collision Centers
Reid, Strickland, Gillette, LLP
City of Baytown Mayor
Cox Commercial Construction
BDI Resources, Inc.
Texas First Bank
HPP Materials, Inc.
CommunityBank of Texas
Covestro Industrial Park Baytown
Second Baptist Church
Linebaugh Law Firm
First Liberty National Bank
Coldwell Banker United REALTORS
BDI Resources, Inc.
TGS Cedar Port Partners
Texas First Bank
Mike Shields | Exec. Dir.
Economic Dev. Foundation
Dr. Randal O’Brien | Supt.
Goose Creek CISD
Rick Davis | City Mgr.
City of Baytown
Dr. Dennis Brown | President
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.