Fort Bend County set to begin development study in response to rapidly-growing population | Fort Bend Economic Development Council

Fort Bend County's dizzying rate of growth has prompted the county and an economic development organization to hire an Austin firm to conduct a study that will be used to develop a strategic development plan.

“If Fort Bend County was a state, it would be the 46th state population-wise today,” said Carlos Guzman, director of the county's Economic Opportunity & Development Office, which partnered with the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council to hire TIP Strategies to conduct the $265,000 study.

The study will begin next week and is expected to be completed in six months, Guzman said.  

The county should prepare now for the next 40 to 50 years and prioritize strategies to remain competitive and preserve the factors that have contributed to its success, Guzman recently told a gathering at the first quarterly discussion of County Judge KP George’s Fort Bend Forward series.

“I always like to tell people, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu,” Guzman said at the March 16 event at University Branch Library in Sugar Land.

Fueled by a high standard of living and highly rated public schools, the county's population is projected to grow from 883,000 in 2022 to 1.1 million by 2030, according to demographic data firm Woods & Poole Economics.  

"Back in 2000, we were at about 350,000 residents,” Guzman said.

Population growth projections call for new infrastructure, schools and roads, he said.  

The study will be divided into three parts. The first will involve data collection and interviews with a range of community stakeholders to determine how the county compares with neighboring regions and similar places around the country.

The second phase will be to give preliminary recommendations based on factors such as commercial property trends, best practices and analysis of industries in which the county is highly competitive. The third step will be to recommend actions based on the information.

One sign of the county's growth is the planned Fort Bend County Epicenter, a 10,450-seat sports-and-entertainment complex under construction in Rosenberg.

Expected to be completed by summer, the center is expected to generate millions of dollars for the county in the coming decade through venue rentals, hotel bookings, naming rights and sparking development of new businesses in the area, according to George.

Kevin Matocha, the founder and CEO of the project developer, Stonehenge Holdings, said he wanted to incorporate area restaurants into events at the center and offer visitors a chance to experience local cuisine.

“We want to involve a lot of people," Matocha said. "The last thing we want is somebody in the back at a grill, making a hamburger that doesn't taste like anything. We want the local flair to come in.”

He said the company is seeking applicants to apply on its website for its operations department.

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