SoTx Host Panel on Place Making

At the South Texas Business Partnership Monthly Luncheon on Thursday, March 24th, Board Chair Connie Gonzalez moderated a panel discussion regarding private and public partnerships in community place making.

(Left to Right) Chairwoman Connie Gonzalez, Joshua Sanders, & James Lifshutz 

James Lifshutz, shared his experiences developing mixed-use projects on the southern stretch of the San Antonio River.  James discussed the risks he took on redeveloping an industrial property near the railroad tracks, which is now the Blue Star Arts Complex. Blue Star ignited an urban revitalization that continues to spread further south. 

James highlighted development projects on the Southside, including The Flats at Big Tex apartments near Blue Star, the Hot Wells Conservancy and Southside Living + Maker Space on Roosevelt, noting their place making ability in creating an eco-system for businesses and residents to thrive. 

The Southside Living + Maker Space, is a privately funded venture that sustainably repurposed a long-abandoned warehouse, featuring 65 units with a clean industrial ethos. The South Side offers one-bedroom studio apartments - some with attached maker spaces for entrepreneurs to grow their business.
Joshua Sanders, who serves on the board of TXRX Labs, presented to the group information regarding the East End Maker Hub in Houston and it’s place making abilities. 

The East End Maker Hub’s 300,000 square foot facility is a collaboration between Urban Partners Community Development Corporation (UP CDC) and TXRX Labs. The Hub is intended to provide TXRX and other Houston innovators with a state-of-the-art makerspace and manufacturing center, the opportunity to expand and scale operations, and to create positive economic impact for Houston’s East End residents. 

Joshua highlighted how the City of Houston, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and New Market Tax Credits were used to create the $37 million dollar capital funding that was needed to complete the project.  He highlighted how cities can utilize economic development Section 108 loans through the US Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to stimulate economic development with direct ties to job creation. 

The East End Maker Hub is currently home to 46 companies with a diversity of industries represented. Biotech, Robotics, Food & Drink, Craft Furniture, Arts & Artisans, Hydroponics, Construction Technology, and Carbon Capture. Over 350 permanent jobs have already been created and retained since the Hub’s opening in 2021. 

Next month the South Texas Business Partnership will host a discussion on Energy in South Texas featuring Rudy Garza (CPS Energy) and Omar Garcia (Port Corpus Christi) on Thursday, April 28th, Noon, at Embassy Brooks.  Click here to register.