- Kingwood BizCom packed with information -
Expect some major changes in Kingwood.
The old H-E-B Center is getting a facelift and new tenants. New picnic tables are coming to Town Center Park. Lone Star College-Kingwood Interim President Mario Castillo has useful news for Lake Houston’s small-business owners. HCA Hospital Kingwood plans a $40 million renovation.
Those news items were all part of an information-packed Kingwood BizCom held virtually Dec. 3 by Partnership Lake Houston.
“We know there is tremendous interest,” said Managing Partner Charles Shears of SDI Realty, which will own the Kingwood Crossing Center in March and is in talks with H-E-B, which owns the building H-E-B originally occupied. “We’ll demolish a portion of the center first, then build two new endcaps.”
In response to a question, he assured the 223 viewers that SDI is in discussions with the current tenants about relocating them as well as working with them on their leases, their needs and their wants. In addition, Shears said restaurants and new regional tenants will be brought to the revitalized center. Kings Crossing will be completed by the end of 2021.
Speaking from Austin as his staff moves into their new offices in the state capitol, State Rep. Dan Huberty outlined his three major priorities for the January session:
- Continue funding for House Bill 3, Huberty’s historical school finance bill passed in the last session.
- Assist first responders requesting fairness in workers' compensation in the age of COVID-19.
- Develop a long-term dredging program and a solution to mitigation for Lake Houston, especially since the lake has lost 30% of its capacity.
“This session will be so much different because of COVID-19,” Huberty said, stressing that, constitutionally, the capitol must be open to legislators and to the public. “In the past, we’ve had thousands watch us. That will not happen. We won’t have as many in-person meetings and probably not as many bills will be introduced.”
The day before session begins, Comptroller Glenn Hegar will tell legislators how much they can spend. Huberty said he is more optimistic about funding now because Hegar reported online sales tax revenue is significant, to the tune of $1.5 billion. In addition, the land office now can increase its contribution to the state, money is available from the Rainy Day Fund, and there is some CARE money remaining.
“But it’ll still be a tough session,” he said.
Small-business owners, meanwhile, could get some extra help retraining their employees, according to Mario Castillo, Lone Star College-Kingwood interim president.
Castillo also reported that the Kingwood campus census stands at 11,600 students, a slight uptick from last year, and enrollment has doubled at Lone Star’s new Process Center at Generation Park. He said the position for president has been posted, candidates will be reviewed in the spring, and the Kingwood campus will have a new president in late summer or as fall semester begins.
A speedy summary of other news shared at Kingwood BizCom:
- During the COVID-19 lockdown, families began picnicking at Town Center Park. “We love that. We want it to continue,” said Tony Austin, a Town Center director. “We’re bringing in picnic tables to keep it growing.”
- A second “tiny home” has been delivered to a homeless veteran and Kingwood Park High’s architecture class is preparing to build a third home to be delivered next year. “I am so proud of these kids,” Kingwood Park Principal Lisa Drabing said.
- Lori Wieland gave a tour of the impressive Fountainwood at Lake Houston, a senior living campus currently under construction on West Lake Houston Parkway near Will Clayton Boulevard. The visual tour included a look at the pool, the fitness center and the full-service wine bar. The opening date is February 2021.
- HCA Kingwood will invest $40 million in upgrading its campus in 2021, according to CEO John Corbeil. Plans include a 38-bed heart hospital, a fourth cath lab, an additional hybrid operating room plus a $3.5 million operating room renovation and refresh.
- Kingwood BizCom host Jennifer Carney announced she will host the three Kingwood BizComs in 2021 and she reminded viewers to shop local and shop small.
View all the BizComs on Partnership Lake Houston’s Facebook page.