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Galveston County's New Developments to Drive Economic Boom

Published Feb 14, 2024 by Hailea Schultz

Margaritaville Resort Galveston

Margaritaville Resort Planned for Galveston

Nestled along the Gulf Coast, Galveston County is thriving with new developments, blossoming into a sought-after vacation destination.

The county is bounded by many unique cities, including Clear Lake Shores, Dickinson, Friendswood, Hitchcock, Jamaica Beach, Kemah, La Marque, League City, Santa Fe and Texas City. With a bustling population of 335,036 residents, the County’s population grew by more than 15 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to Galveston County Economic Development.  

Several key elements drive the ongoing growth and development of the county, rendering it an enticing destination for vacationers and businesses alike, including:   

Business Community 

Historically anchored in the oil and gas industry, Galveston County remains a vital player in energy production and refining. However, its economic landscape has diversified, embracing a broader spectrum of industries. 

Among these emerging sectors, the tourism and hospitality industry has gained prominence, fueled by the allure of beaches, historic sites and a flourishing cultural scene. 

Additionally, Galveston's port, one of the nation's busiest, bolsters trade and commerce, making it a key hub for shipping and logistics. Healthcare has also become a key industry, propelled by major medical facilities in the county including John Sealy and Jennie Sealy Hospitals in Galveston and HCA Houston Healthcare Mainland Hospital in Texas City.  

Many of the county’s largest employers include Dow Chemical, Landry’s, Mainland Medical Center, Moody Gardens and Valero Texas City Refinery, according to Galveston County Economic Development


With a thriving business community as its backbone, Galveston County also benefits from a robust and well-developed infrastructure, sustaining its dynamic economic activities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. 

The county's transportation network is anchored by a sophisticated system of highways, including the I-45 corridor, facilitating efficient connectivity to major cities like Houston. To further increase this connectivity and accommodate the demand of a growing population, many improvement projects are underway or have recently been completed that will transform the county’s major roadways.  

In July 2023, the Texas Clear Lane Project at Interstate 45 from the NASA 1 Bypass to Farm to Market Road 518, was completed. The project, which began in 2017, included the widening of I-45 to 10 main lanes, the addition of two three-lane frontage roads and access into two HOV diamond lanes and improvements to traffic signals on FM 518, according to TxDOT

Other projects include the Hwy. 146 Project, which includes the widening of the highway from six lanes to twelve at Red Bluff Road to Hwy. 96 and the addition of an express bridge through Seabrook and Kemah and the expansions of Highway 3, SH87 (Bolivar Peninsula), FM646 and FM517.  

Additionally, Galveston County is home to the Port of Galveston, a vital maritime gateway, supporting international trade and commerce. Complimenting this, the county is also served by several airports, including Scholes International Airport, located on Galveston Island, and William P. Hobby Airport, located only 10 miles from the county, ensuring seamless air travel accessibility.  

Moreover, the county demonstrates its commitment to bolstering flood mitigation efforts. This dedication is evident through ongoing improvements to drainage systems, addressing challenges posed by its coastal location. 

New Development 

Amidst this landscape, the county has become a hub for new developments, with resorts and master-planned communities emerging as significant contributors to its diversified identity. 

In Texas City, construction is poised to begin on a nine-story Sports Illustrated Resort adjacent to the beloved Lago Mar Lagoon, a centerpiece of a sprawling master-planned community. The new resort aims to be the go-to game-day spot, offering the Stadium Sports Grill restaurant and a public Beach Club which includes beachside cabanas, resort-style amenities and a swim-up bar, according to the Houston Business Journal.  

A Margaritaville Resort is expected to take shape in Galveston this year, spanning 300,000 square feet of the island. The resort will feature an extensive range of on-site amenities including pickleball courts, an entertainment center that features an arcade for all ages, a 350-foot lazy river, a spa and signature Margaritaville bars and eateries.  

Legacy, an expansive modern ranch-theme master-planned community is underway in League City. The 805-acre development will include 1,630 homes, an amenity complex, various waterways with launch areas, parks with walking trails, a recreation center and play areas for children, according to the Houston Business Journal

Friendswood is also starting to see growth in development as construction on a 54-acre mixed-use district dubbed City Center begins. City Center will feature retail, medical and office space, along with a 500-unit apartment complex, a 150-room boutique hotel, a restaurant and a convention center, according to the Houston Business Journal. Additionally, the project includes a 52-acre park, featuring running and biking trails, a fishing lake, parking and public restrooms.  

Additionally, Port of Galveston announced that MSC Cruises will build a 165,000 square foot terminal at Pier 16, which will serve as the homeport of the MSC Seascape. The new cruise ship will begin sailing in Nov. 2025.  

Learn more about the counties that make up the greater Houston region.


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