Like much of the region surrounding the Eagle Ford Shale, Corpus Christi experienced significant post-recession growth, fueled in large part by the increased rates of oil and gas production made possible through hydraulic fracturing technology. The resulting boom, together with the presence of the Port of Corpus Christi and its strategic access to the Americas, helped attract approximately $20 billion of potential new capital investment to the region. However, the boom also strained local infrastructure, threatened long-term water supplies, and limited the availability of workers. These challenges, along with a subsequent drop in oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale due to declining prices, contributed to a slowing of the region’s rapid expansion.
To better position the area for long-term growth and prosperity, the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation (CCREDC) and the City of Corpus Christi contracted TIP Strategies to prepare an economic development plan. TIP created an action plan built around four core principles: economic diversity, deep and talented workforce, quality of place, and regional cooperation. With these principles in mind, the team identified 10 priority strategies, each of which was focused on a specific initiative, issue, or program. Taken together, these strategies laid the groundwork for the CCREDC to build a diversified economic development program that emphasized regional cooperation and a long-term outlook. Priorities included strengthening the region’s business retention program; expanding relationships with site selectors to further domestic and international business recruitment efforts; making key investments to position the downtown for employment and housing; leveraging regional tourism assets; and using creative tools to attract, develop, and anchor innovative companies and talent in Corpus Christi. The strategic plan was adopted by the CCREDC board and the City in 2014.