By Betsy Dolan
The city of Missouri City will hire a company to study how to revamp the Texas Parkway corridor and turn it into a retail hub.
On May 6, the City Council voted to spend $17,500 with The Retail Coach, a Tupelo, Mississippi-based retail recruiter with offices in Austin.
The money covers the first phase of the study which will determine where retail dollars are being spent in the area, compiling statistical data and interviewing residents and business owners. In addition, the company will provide the city with a list of potential retailers that meet the demographic make-up of the area and ideas for how to improve existing properties.
Bob Graf, Missouri City’s Economic Development Coordinator told the council that the Texas Parkway project is part of the city’s larger economic development plan.
“We have to identify what retail dollars are being spent outside of the city and Missouri City doesn’t have the resources to do that,” Graf told the council. “They will be able to tell us what can and can’t be done.”
The Retail Coach will conduct a market analysis looking at the economic dynamics in the area, demographics, socio-economic profiles and customer spending patterns.
“They can mine data on the people that live in the area and travel through the area,” said Edward Broussard, Missouri City’s City Manager. “They use license plate technology to discover where people shop, where they eat and where different family units are spending their money.”
Councilman Robin Elackatt questioned the need for a new study when the city has a 2009 study conducted by George Johnson Development that also identified ways to improve the Texas Parkway corridor. According to city news releases from 2009, the Johnson master plan called for “enhancements to existing businesses and the creation of new businesses with the goal of creating an attractive gateway entrance into the city”.
Broussard said that the Johnson study pertained to overall design development standards for the area including housing and mobility rather than just retail recruitment.
Councilman Don Smith, who was on the council when the Johnson study was done, said that one problem revealed in the Johnson study was the reluctance of some owners to refurbish their properties.
“This will be different than the Johnson plan because we’re hiring a retail coach who will bring all of the entities together to see what can be done. The city will put something into it and the owners will have to fix up their properties,” Smith said.
The Retail Coach will take 60 days to gather their first round of data. The City will then decide whether to proceed on their own or whether to continue working with The Retail Coach on a second phase of development.