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Manvel’s vision: Town center complex

August 2, 2018

Spurred by rapid population growth and the lack of a dedicated downtown area, the city of Manvel is taking steps to create a town center complex in coming years.

The city recently paid a little more than $4.6 million for 150 acres east of Texas 288 and north of Texas 6. Though plans aren’t yet final, city officials expect the space to eventually include institutions like the local library, town hall and police station in addition to opportunities for retail, commercial and hotel developments. The city also would like the space to include sports fields, a community center and a facility for special events.

The land was bought from several limited partnerships represented by Andy Sowell, whose dad, Sonny, was the original investor in the tract.

There are no plans to build residential space on the property, but City Manager Kyle Jung said that could change if the City Council decides to move in that direction.

Mayor Debra Davison added; “For our city center, we hope to have an event area where we might have an amphitheatre and some other areas for citizens to gather. Then of course, some retail though I’m not sure exactly what that will be at this point. But that’s our vision and our great hope.”

Davison said Manvel’s rapid growth is helping propel plans for a concentrated city-services complex and additional retail and recreational space.

“We’ve had an incredible population explosion within our city limits. We’ve more than doubled our population since 2010,” she said.

In 2010, the city’s population was 5,000. Now, the population is estimated at around 12,000, not counting substantial residential growth around the city.

Jung said he and city staff are in the beginning stages of design.

“We want to develop the preliminary design and layout for the property by the end of the year,” he said. “This will help identify what funding will be needed and when to best develop the property.”

Jung detailed Manvel’s population growth spurt.

“Since Jan. 2012 more than 2,500 new home permits have been issued by Manvel. More than $100 million in property value has been added to the city’s taxable value each of the past three years,” he said. “With this growth, we have added approximately 7,500 people to our community in less than seven years.”

Jung said he expects the rate of growth to continue and even increase..

“We have 11 subdivisions currently under development or under construction, which accounts for about 11,000 lots,” he said.

That means Manvel could see its population swell to 35,000 in 10 years.

Davison said the growth reflects residential growth moving south from Houston.

“At this point I think this is the only direction the City of Houston can go, down here on (Texas 288),” she said.

The city plans to construct a a 10,000-square-foot metal building as a temporary replacement for the current crowded City Hall at 20025 Texas 6. The planned structure would aim to make space to hire additional employees, provide adequate room for court staff including the judge and prosecutor and allow for a new City Council chambers.

“We’re bursting at the seams,” Davison said.

Jung said $85,000 has been budgeted for the construction of the metal building.

“Additional money will be needed when the design is completed and the final estimated costs are determined,” he added.

Once the new space is finished, possibly by next summer, the current City Hall, which covers 4,000 square feet and was built in 1984, will house operations for city permits and development services.

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