Boomtown: Part 1

July 31, 2008

We live in Pearland, a suburb just south of Houston.  Forbes Magazine has listed the town as one of the most rapidly expanding suburbs in the country.  The population has grown from some 37,000 in 2000 to over 80,000 today.  City leaders say that we may have over 100,000 people by 2010.

Our neighborhood is part of that explosive growth, changing from rice fields a decade ago to a neat and orderly “master-planned community” of houses, lakes, trails, and retail, retail, retail.  The latest entry in the retail scene is Pearland Town Center, a multi-use development just around a few corners and down the road.  PTC is intended to be a 21st Century iteration of the shopping mall, open to the elements, landscaped with trees, lawns, and yes, another lake, complete with a clock tower, pavilion, and little “main streets” with diagonal parking.  There are apartments, offices, a hotel, restaurants, two free-standing department stores, and 70-odd mall-type small retailers.  Opening day was yesterday.

Across the street is yet another development, the somewhat more conventional Shadow Creek Town Center.  The anchor store is the HEB Plus!, a supermarket/big-box store about the size of two football fields.  Imagine a conventional supermarket/drugstore combined with a Costco combined with a gourmet market, and that will almost, but not quite, characterize it.  I gather that SCTC will also have at least four banks, not counting the one inside HEB Plus!

The most peculiar thing about these two “town centers” is that neither one is anywhere near the center of town.  That would be about five miles to the east.

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