Pasadena’s image as a community of “smokestack industries” no longer reflects its assets or economic potential. As Greater Houston’s second-largest city, Pasadena is well-positioned to compete globally for business and talent. The city’s advantages include major corporate operations representing dozens of countries; a diverse population; a central location (only 15 minutes from downtown Houston or Houston Hobby Airport); and world-class infrastructure, including the Port of Houston. Despite these advantages, Pasadena trails regional competitors in key economic indicators, such as housing development, labor force growth, and amenities. In addition, the city is largely built out and has a limited set of tools to shape future growth.
In response to these challenges, the Pasadena Economic Development Corporation (EDC) engaged TIP Strategies to create a 10-year road map to guide the city’s growth. The final plan outlined six goals designed to encourage private sector investment, business growth, and job creation to expand Pasadena’s tax base. Strategies focused on core functions where the EDC can affect the most positive change, starting with traditional areas of marketing, business retention and expansion, and domestic/international business recruitment. Collectively, the goals added up to a much more aggressive and diverse approach to economic development. Two catalyst projects—the redevelopment of Pasadena Town Square mall and mixed-use development of the 300-acre Pasadena Convention Center district—present specific opportunities for channeling the city’s future growth. By embracing the recommendations detailed in the plan, Pasadena was poised to raise its profile within Greater Houston and establish itself as one of the nation’s leading destinations for new investment, employment, and business creation.