AP NEWS

American Furniture Warehouse pushes back Katy opening

March 7, 2019

The opening of an American Furniture Warehouse store/warehouse in Katy now is planned for the first quarter of 2020.

“Mother Nature has been a little rough on us,” said Nolan Morrison, manager, American Furniture Warehouse. “We’re getting to the point of construction. We’re starting to move dirt and starting to do some grading.”

Last summer, company officials talked of starting construction that fall in anticipation of a 2019 fall opening.

Morrison said a construction contract has been awarded to Burton Construction of Houston for the 500,000-square-foot project on the 29 acres in the Village at Katy. This includes a 150,000-square-foot showroom and a 350,000-square-foot warehouse. It’s a tilt-wall construction. Parking will be provided for 650 to 700 vehicles.

“Everything is a go,” continued Morrison on March 6. “It’s been raining so much lately. Any construction has been a challenge at best.”

The business looks to provide 400-plus jobs, he said. Hiring could begin the last quarter of the year, but Morrison added,”Again, it’s highly dependent upon Mother Nature.”

“We’re looking at the first quarter next year for completion and opening,” said Morrison. “These always depend on the city’s cooperation.”

Morrison said the delay has increased project cost but declined to give a figure.

The Village at Katy is an 85-acre parcel at Interstate 10 and Pin Oak Road in Katy and is a project of Giammalva Properties. Vincent Giammalva, company president, said, “Weather has affected everyone. We’re moving along. Hopefully we’ll get enough dry weather.”

Giammalva said, “All horizontal infrastructure construction is under way which includes detention ponds, sanitary sewer lines, storm sewer lines and water lines.

“Construction for the road will begin by April 1, weather permitting.”

Given the weather, he is optimistic that the infrastructure can be in place by June 30.

“We’re four to five months later than we’d like to be,” said Giammalva, who added there’s no time frame and the work just needs to get done.

CenterPoint Energy at the north end of the property is expanding, he continued, but there is no marketing talk for now about the remaining 24 acres.

Giammalva explained they are waiting for American Furniture Warehouse to be completed and open for business. “I think it enhances values and brings a lot of people to the site and creates a draw,” he explained.

In March 2018, the city of Katy established a planned development district for the 84 acres as a means to restrict unwanted uses. In June, Katy City Council approved a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with American Furniture Warehouse that would let the city rebate a portion of the sales-tax revenue generated by the company when it reaches a certain level.

At that time, Kayce L. Reina, director of tourism, marketing and public relations for the city of Katy, said “The agreement does not give any property tax abatement. The 380 agreement is an economic development performance agreement.” The agreement was scheduled to begin the first day of January after the project opens for business and would extend no more than 18 years.

American Furniture Warehouse also purchased last year 23 acres in Webster for a 355,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse.

“The Webster location is a little bit ahead,” said Morrison. That store/warehouse could open in the third or fourth quarter of this year, he said.

The company headquartered in Englewood, Colo., is still working on a third site in the Houston area, said Morrison.

karen.zurawski@chron.com