THE GRID Comes to Fort Bend

CityScape | By Dan Murphy –

Architectural rendering by Provident Realty Advisors, Inc.

The first phase of the development to the former Texas Instruments (TI) campus in Stafford in under way, and officials are confident that it will be game-changer for Fort Bend County.

“We are already very excited about it,” said Patti Worfe, executive director of Economic Development for the City of Stafford. “It has a tremendous amount of potential for Stafford. It has the potential to be great for Fort Bend County as a whole.”

Ground was broken at site, located on I-69 between West Airport Boulevard and South Kirkwood Drive, in September, officially starting the first phase of a $500 million mixed-use development project aimed at bringing shops, restaurants, bars, office space and apartments to the 192-acre site.

Dubbed “The Grid,” the site is set to include 350,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 2,400 residential units  and about 500,000 square feet for office space.

“The Grid will create a vibrant community gathering place for Stafford residents, office workers and visitors from neighboring communities throughout Fort Bend County,” said Adam Schiller, Managing Principal, StreetLevel Investments. “Strategically located at the gateway to Fort Bend’s Innovation Corridor, the site has a rich history of world-changing innovation and we look forward to building upon that legacy as the Grid sparks new economic growth in southwest Houston.”

Among the marquee new businesses that will be setting up shop on the site are the California-based fast food attraction In-N-Out Burger, Drive Shack (billed as a “golf entertainment destination”), Whiskey Cake, a craft cocktail bar and restaurant and Luma Grove, an outdoor eating patio and beer garden. Other businesses that will be joining The Grid include Pluckers Wing Bar, Outback Steakhouse, Chipotle and Verizon.

The site will also include multiple hotels, including a 234-room co-branded hotel by Aloft Hotels and Element by Westin, a luxury cinema, a health club and a public space known as “The Grove” suitable for concerts and other outdoor events, Worfe said.

Locations will be connected by a series of jogging and bike trails and pocket parks. Heritage oak trees currently on site will be preserved.

In addition to brick-and-mortar shopping and dining attractions, The Grid will also feature curated pop-up shots and exhibits, as well as live music, entertainment and seasonal events.

Though the location on the well-traveled I-69 is an advantageous spot, a significant amount of work had to be done on site before construction could begin, Worfe said.

“Before we could begin any building, we had to go in and completely start new in terms of the underground infrastructure. We had to put in water lines, electrical, gas lines, everything. None of that was there. We had to start fresh.”

In addition to new builds, the project will also repurpose some of the buildings from the original TI campus. One of those repurposed buildings will house a food hall with artisan chefs to service the employees working on site and creating a culinary destination for the community in general, she said.

The first phase of construction, which will include the construction of 380 upscale apartment units, is on pace to be completed in 2019.

The former Texas Instruments site was purchased by StreetLevel Investments of Dallas, along with joint-venture partner Provident Realty Advisors. JLB Partners is overseeing the residential development, while CBRE is the leasing partner for the office space.

The concept of The Grid was developed over a two-year span, and all phases of construction are currently scheduled to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, Worfe said.

In addition to becoming a vibrant destination in Stafford, Worfe predicts that The Grid will be a windfall for the local economy.

“Between years seven and 10, we’re predicting that the city could bring in an additional $3 million in sales tax revenue generated from the The Grid,” she said. “We’re all in this together.  If the city does well, then all of our communities will do well. We’re very excited and happy to have this project coming together.”