Medical administrators along with county and city leaders gathered last month to celebrate the grand opening of a new 33,000 square foot Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Stafford.
The project is just the latest building effort in Stafford that could one day change the face of the business-friendly community, joining several other major building projects also under construction elsewhere in the city.
As communities across the country have seen businesses suffer during the coronavirus pandemic, Stafford hit a major milestone in the past 12 months, raising a city record of approximately $24.86 million in revenue from sales tax, according to city spokeswoman Camille Scott. This is an increase from approximately $12.79 million in 2010.
“It looks like if you build it, they will come,” Stafford Mayor Cecil Willis said in a recent interview.
In conversations with the Fort Bend Star, Kelsey-Seybold executives as well as a real estate investment firm cited the community’s proximity to other industries, its location in rapidly growing Fort Bend County, and the absence of municipal sales taxes as reasons why businesses have rushed to set up shop there.
“Stafford has become a target market for us because it’s a very business-friendly community,” said Cory Driskill, general manager of the Houston branch for Crow Holdings Industrial, a Dallas-based industrial real estate firm.
Crow Holdings Industrial is currently working on two separate projects in Stafford, combining more than 1 million square feet of industrial office space, Driskill said.
The first of those projects, called Weatherford Farms, just completed construction and includes three buildings at 13223 Murphy Road combining for 568,084 square feet of space, Driskill said.
The second project is called Kirkwood Industrial, Driskill said. It will include two industrial buildings at 13015 and 12855 S. Kirkwood Road, combining about 550,000 square feet of space, Driskill said.
Driskill estimated that each project requires more than $40 million to develop.
Stafford has become central to the future of the business due to the lack of a municipal property tax, and also due to its central location, Driskill said.
“It’s in the middle of all these major highways – 59, 90, Beltway 8,” Driskill said. “It’s a very good launching pad for industrial distribution tenants. It has quick access to all the business centers of the population.
Unlike many industries that have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, industrial development has seen a surge in business due to the shift to e-commerce, Driskill said.
“Brick-and-mortar retailers are realizing they need an online presence,” Driskill said. “So even before the pandemic, e-commerce as a percentage of retail sales was around 15%. When the pandemic hit, that jumped to 20%. And it’s still going up. But all of this requires storage space.
Willis echoed some of Driskill’s claims, explaining that he had heard that Freeport’s port expansion combined with the expansion of State Highway 36 may be responsible for the city’s current surge in business. .
“They’ve set up a massive rail yard outside Kendleton that picks up cargo from the port and ships it everywhere,” Willis said. “The first two stops are Rosenberg and Stafford, where there is plenty of land available.”
But for the expanding medical industry in Fort Bend, it’s not taxes or shipping that’s attracting, but population growth, said Nicholas Ro, Kelsey-Seybold’s director of legal and strategic planning.
“If you look at the population around the commercial area of Stafford – Meadows Place, parts of Alief, Rayburn and Sharpstown – and count the patients with health insurance, your target market is around 100,000 potential patients,” said said Ro. “It’s a mature market.”
Kelsey-Seybold is working on a two-story, 33,000-square-foot clinic at The Grid, a 192-acre mixed-use development built on the former Texas Instruments campus, according to the hospital. The new facility will be located at 11211 Nexus Avenue off State Highway 59 between Kirkwood Road and West Airport Drive, according to a press release.
The clinic will offer primary and specialty health care for adults and children, according to Kelsey-Seybold, and will have space for 15 providers with the option to expand up to 27 providers in the future. Patients will have convenient access to onsite imaging, including routine x-ray, ultrasound and 3D mammography, according to the press release, in addition to services such as cardiac stress testing, echocardiography and laboratory services.
Ro said the Stafford clinic won’t be the group’s latest expansion into the Fort Bend County market. While declining to provide details, Ro said he would have more information to share soon.
Construction of the new clinic will take about nine months, with an additional month to prepare for the clinic’s opening, Ro said.
The Stafford Clinic will be the fourth site in Fort Bend County upon completion, joining existing clinics at 7010 State Highway 6 in Siena, 11555 University Blvd. in Sugar Land and 22121 FM 1093 in Katy.