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SmartDraw Software Relocates from California to The Woodlands, TX for its Business-Friendly Environment

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Business-Friendly Environment with Low Taxes and High Quality of Life Offers Ideal Relocation Opportunity

The Howard Hughes Corporation announced today that SmartDraw Software, LLC (SmartDraw) has signed a lease and relocated to The Woodlands from San Diego. A creator of sophisticated diagramming and visualization software used by more than half of the Fortune 500, SmartDraw selected The Woodlands for its business-friendly environment with a low cost of living and a high quality of life for their team members.

“Texas is a business-friendly state with a reasonable regulatory environment and a cost of living that is vastly lower than found in San Diego,” Paul Stannard, Chief Executive Officer of SmartDraw said. “We decided to relocate to Texas—and specifically to The Woodlands—for many reasons, including the opportunity for our employees to become homeowners – something that was out of reach for many of them in San Diego. The Woodlands offers an exceptional quality of work-life experience in a beautiful natural setting and it was clear that our employees and our company would thrive in this community which is the ultimate office perk.”

With 220 miles of hike and bike trails, an outstanding 7,665 acres (28%) of open green space, and a 1,000-acre commercial town center with office, shopping, dining and entertainment, The Woodlands is one of the most acclaimed master planned communities in the nation, providing the perfect combination of nature and urban walkability. SmartDraw’s new office, totaling approximately 6,500 square feet, will be located within the award-winning Hughes Landing development along Lake Woodlands.

“We are thrilled to welcome SmartDraw to The Woodlands and to the Howard Hughes family of customers. We know that once decision makers from organizations such as SmartDraw come to our community and visit our trophy assets, The Woodlands sets itself apart in terms of the work-life balance that has been curated here over the last 46 years. We are excited to add this unique and growing technology business and appreciate the trust they have given to HHC and this community as they selected their new home,” said Jim Carman, President of the Houston Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation.

SmartDraw is a privately held, growing technology firm whose software is used by thousands of organizations worldwide including over half of the Fortune 500, law firms, police departments, health systems, technology companies and private enterprises of all types and sizes. Its flagship software enables teams to capture and share information and collaborate on projects and initiatives across all functional groups of the enterprise. It does this by making it easy to create more than 70 types of common diagrams—including flowcharts, project charts, mind maps, org charts, floorplans, and more—so teams can document processes, visualize complex systems, and make informed decisions as they work to improve their products and businesses. VisualScript, the latest offering from SmartDraw, provides powerful automated reporting for decisions makers who rely on tools like Atlassian to develop software and collaborate.

“The Woodlands offers an ideal corporate environment for growing firms like SmartDraw which will benefit from recruitment opportunities offered by the community’s educated workforce, as well as enjoy the unprecedented amount of open green space integrated with a walkable, amenity-rich urban core,” added Carman.

Summerlin Ranks #3 Nationally for New Home Sales

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Summerlin Earns #3 Ranking Nationally for New Home Sales in 2019, Ranked #6 for the Decade, Appearing on Top Ten List Five Times

2020 Development Plans Include Ten New Neighborhoods, New Village Park, New LVMPD Summerlin Area Command, New Clark County Fire Station, Additional Class-A Office at Downtown Summerlin

Following 2019 milestone development headlined by the continuing evolution of Downtown Summerlin®, the opening and storied inaugural year of Las Vegas Ballpark®, and the addition of seven new neighborhoods, the master-planned community (MPC) of Summerlin, a development of The Howard Hughes Corporation®, maintained its position as the #3 best-selling MPC in the country for 2019 as ranked by RCLCO, a leading national real estate consultant that has been ranking MPCs since 1994.  The ranking is determined by number of new home sales.  In 2019, 1,320 new homes were sold in Summerlin.

RCLCO also ranked the top MPCs for the decade, based on the number of times they appeared on the top ten list over the past ten years.  Summerlin comes in at #6 for the decade with five top ten appearances since 2010.   

According to Gregg Logan, managing director, RCLCO, Summerlin has consistently appeared on its annual list 24 – confirm times since the firm began tracking 26 years ago. “The community was ranked #1 as the nation’s top-selling MPC eight times between 1994 and 2002, putting Summerlin in the company of only a handful of communities nationwide to enjoy such remarkable and sustained success,” he said.  “Among the top ten best-selling communities in 2019, Summerlin maintains its position as the best-selling MPC in Nevada, a testament to the community’s enduring appeal given that Summerlin is now entering its fourth decade of development.”

According to RCLCO’s report, true MPCs like Summerlin are developed from a comprehensive plan by a master developer, and incorporate a variety of housing types, sizes, and prices, with shared common space, amenities, and a vital public realm. The best examples of MPCs are developed with a strong vision and comprehensive plan that guide development and unify the community through distinctive signage, wayfinding, entry features, landscaping, and architectural/design standards. MPCs foster an environment within which generations can live better in terms of housing and the community environment, and many offer educational opportunities, neighborhood shopping and services, and even employment centers to complement the residential neighborhoods. The report concludes that although rooted in a vision, the most resilient MPCs have flexible master plans that are environmentally sensitive, market responsive, and nurture the lifestyles of their residents.

In 2020, ten new neighborhoods are expected to open in Summerlin, including several in Redpoint, a new Summerlin village that will embrace a contemporary version of traditional Spanish architecture. Located west of the 215 Beltway along the northern border of Far Hills Drive, Redpoint signals the dawn of a new era in Summerlin where the focus is shifting to create higher density residential districts but still designed in harmony with the surrounding natural environment. Homes in these new neighborhoods include a mix of single-family detached homes, townhomes, condominiums, attached two-story duplexes and a very small single-family detached product with a mix of front- and alley-facing garages.

According to Kevin T. Orrock, President, Summerlin, the community is increasing its focus on expanding its inventory of homes designed to meet the demands of a wide range of market segments, from millennials to empty-nesters and retirees. 

“While single-family homes in all sizes continue their popularity, consumer preferences are expanding to include a desire for smaller footprints to accommodate a more experiential lifestyle,” said Orrock. “We expect to offer a greater variety of housing options as Summerlin continues its development west of the 215 Beltway.”

Other anticipated development highlights for 2020 include the completion of Stonebridge Park, a major 12-acre village park; the official opening of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Summerlin Area Command in late January; commencement of development on a new Clark County Fire Station near the 215 Beltway and Town Center Dr.; and ongoing development of Downtown Summerlin, the community’s walkable urban center that is home to more than 125 retail and restaurant brands, entertainment venues, office towers, two luxury apartment communities, Las Vegas Ballpark – home of the Las Vegas Aviators®, the city’s professional baseball team, and City National Arena, practice facility of the Vegas Golden Knights.  In Downtown Summerlin, planning for a third Class-A office building – Three Summerlin – is expected to get underway in 2020.

The master-planned community of Summerlin currently offers more than 160 floorplans in 34 neighborhoods throughout nine distinct villages. Homes are available in a variety of styles – from single-family homes to townhomes, priced from the low $300,000s to more than $1 million.

Texas Ranks #1 for Business Climate

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Texas scored top honors in terms of business climate in Business Facilities magazine’s annual rankings, announced Wednesday. The Lone Star State had notched up a record fourth consecutive plaudit as State of the Year in 2019, but the publication suspended overall rankings for states and metro areas this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same factors that propelled Texas to its fourth SOTY win last year were in play this year too, Business Facilities reported. “A rapidly expanding skilled workforce, solid infrastructure, readily available renewable energy and a vibrant innovation ecosystem are just a partial list of the must-haves TX puts on the table for corporate site selectors evaluating locations for their next project.”

In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “We have shown repeatedly that the Texas model of low taxes and smart regulations combined with our top-notch workforce is a winning formula for economic prosperity.” 

The Woodlands Ranks as Top City in Texas and #2 in America

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The Woodlands ranks as the #1 “Best City to Live” and #1 “Best City to Raise a Family” in Texas and #2 for both in America in 2020 by Niche.

“Naturally, we are very pleased that The Woodlands has been recognized as one of the top communities in the nation,” said Jim Carman, President – Central Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation®. “The community has an unprecedented 28% of open/green space, alongside first-class business and entertainment amenities. making the community the perfect live, work and discover lifestyle for you and your business to relocate.”

The Niche study factors in quality of life, cost of living, commute times, and school quality in developing the criteria.

Perhaps it’s the 28,000 forested acres. Or could it be the short distance to work with nearly 2,200 employers in the community? Maybe it’s the 148 parks or the 220 miles of nature trails. Could it be the 200+ restaurants or upscale shopping experiences? Three highly regarded school districts for our children’s education? Regardless of the live, work or discover reasoning, we are proud of The Woodlands!

The Woodlands, Texas Offers Companies a Path for Relocation and Success

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The Woodlands, Texas Offers Companies a Path for Relocation and Success

Every year, companies relocate their offices and headquarters in search of a more robust and economically sound community in which their businesses can flourish.

The reasons for relocation can include:

  • Lower cost of doing business
  • Workspace and facilities upgrade
  • Strong workforce opportunities
  • Quality of life

Many businesses choose to relocate to The Woodlands, Texas, for these reasons, and more. The Woodlands award-winning master planned community is uniquely positioned in the market to provide companies with an ideal location in which to thrive—allowing them to enhance their bottom line, and attract and retain today’s top talent with a high-quality lifestyle for employees and their families.

Business-friendly location

According to CEOs who were surveyed by Chief Executive magazine for the Best and Worst States for doing business in 2019, Texas remains at the top of the “best” list.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott tells Chief Executive, “In football or economic development, the one thing that kind of record requires is relentless persistence – the pursuit of what needs to be done to succeed.”

The Woodlands, one of Texas’ most desirable communities and office markets, consistently answers the call of companies seeking a business-friendly environment. This 28,000-acre, award-winning master planned community, continues to faithfully support emerging companies as they innovate, grow and expand. It is home to over 118,000 residents, seven Fortune 500 companies with a major presence, and approximately 2,200 businesses that employ more than 68,000 people.

“The Woodlands has always envisioned having 1.5 jobs per household in our community, and we have exceeded that goal,” shared Jim Carman, president of the Houston region for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Residents enjoy the short commute or even walking to work, having business meetings and presentations in the day, and being able to be home in time for their children’s extracurricular activities.”

The Woodlands offers a comprehensive availability of office types (including Class AAA office buildings), floor plans, and build-to-suits to meet the needs of all companies. Businesses at The Woodlands enjoy a high-profile address, and a strongly educated workforce—with 62.4% having a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Business incentives

Businesses want to catch a break. Some of the ways that The Woodlands and Texas provide business incentives are through:

  • Tax abatements
  • Texas Enterprise Zone
  • Texas Enterprise Fund
  • Freeport tax exemption
  • Tuition waivers

Low tax rates

Another item that companies consider when relocating their business is the tax advantage in their market. Texas has one of the lowest tax rates in the country including:

  • No personal state income tax
  • Sales tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment, and research and  development-related materials, software and equipment
  • Franchise tax exemption for manufacturers, sellers or installers of solar energy devices
  • Property tax abatements, permitting fee waivers, local cash grants and local funding for qualifying businesses
  • A franchise tax rate starting at .375% on wholesalers and retail businesses

World-Class Medical presence

The Woodlands offers a world-class medical hub, featuring five of the top medical providers both in Houston and globally. All hospitals are located within a five-mile radius of the commercial town center. Hospitals include Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist, CHI St. Luke’s Health, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Healthcare is the second-largest industry represented in The Woodlands, with 24% of the total jobs filled by over 8,500 employees. Energy is the largest sector, representing 25% of the total jobs in The Woodlands, with over 9,000 employees.

Exceptional Quality of life

The Woodlands offers an exceptional quality of life with sought-after urban amenities set within a natural environment—something that is increasingly important and valued in today’s world.

Its 7,665 acres of open green space amount to an unprecedented 28% of the community, including 220 miles of connected hike and bike trails, 148 neighborhood parks and seven championship golf courses. The Woodlands offers what is seen as the ultimate office perk: a walkable urban town center integrated into a natural outdoor setting.

Find out more about the business benefits and life in The Woodlands!

The Business of Health and Wellness: Living and Working in The Woodlands, Texas

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The Business of Health and Wellness: Living and Working in The Woodlands, Texas

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened our awareness of the importance of health and wellness at home and in the workplace. Throughout its over 46-year history, The Woodlands, Texas has been designed and developed specifically with a healthy environment and lifestyle top-of-mind. The Woodlands’ unprecedented 7,665 acres of open green space represent 28% of the award-winning master planned community, including 220 miles of hike and bike trails and 148 parks that serve the vital need for exercise, play, and connection with nature.

As companies seek to entice and retain today’s top employees, The Woodlands continues to attract attention from companies, as well as homebuyers, who want to work and live in the community. The over 68,000 employees of The Woodlands-based companies continue to appreciate the invigorating workplace wellness programs and the natural outdoors.

How the Howard Hughes Corporation integrated workplace wellness for office tenants

The Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer of The Woodlands, has integrated workplace wellness for its office tenants through its Wellness 360 program, created to improve health outcomes for employees. With fitness centers in each of the office buildings, wellness programs include Wellness Wednesdays, Lunch & Learns, Wellness Speaker Series, biometric screenings, FitSpot with personal training and boot camps and fun team challenges.

“With approximately 2,200 businesses, including seven Fortune 500 companies having a major presence here, our community offers an ideal combination of nature and urban walkability in The Woodlands Town Center,” says Jim Carman, President of the Houston region for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Our environment plays an integral role in our workplace wellness programs and in the active outdoor lifestyle of our tenants and residents.”

“We have the opportunity to exercise outdoors on the beautiful nature-laden shore of Lake Woodlands after work in our office backyard,” says New Century Financial President Nel Somarriba. “The physical and emotional connection has boosted our company culture. This balanced engagement stands second only to the health knowledge gained by all who participate.”

Many tenants take further steps and offer a wide range of vital programs designed to have a positive impact on employee morale, and to encourage increased productivity and, most importantly, health and happiness. These programs include bloodwork lab/weight loss/BMI index assessments, stress/anxiety/depression screenings, employee assistance programs and ergonomic desk and chair checks.

Strike LLC, one of the fastest growing privately held pipeline/facilities and energy

infrastructure solutions providers, is headquartered in Hughes Landing in The Woodlands, and is having great success with its wellness programs.

“Strike values the importance of staying healthy so we encourage our employees to get their annual checkups,” explains Strike Human Resource Benefits Specialist Shavondalyn Johnson. “To inspire physical activity, we have an on-site gym in The Woodlands and provide reimbursements for gym memberships company-wide. The key to wellness at Strike is awareness, so we make great efforts to communicate wellness benefits and opportunities to our employees.”

Health and wellness are purposefully woven into The Woodlands to create a lifestyle that’s easy for tenants, employees, and residents to access and maintain in their personal and workplace lives. In addition, The Woodlands boasts a renowned medical hub that is home to five of the top medical providers, in the Houston area, as well as internationally. Providers include Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist, CHI St. Luke’s Health, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Where others can find it challenging to incorporate health and wellness into their lives, we don’t, because it’s already part of The Woodlands’ DNA,” explains resident Mindy Reynolds.

“For example, our family bikes to school, shops the Saturday morning farmers market, spectates the annual Ironman and marathon—which has inspired our family to exercise more, plays at local parks, listens to concerts at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, often goes on art sculpture hunts and enjoys weekend water sports on Lake Woodlands.”

The Woodlands offers an outstanding combination of a high quality of life with a focus on health and wellness in a low-tax, business-friendly environment—making it one of the nation’s highly sought-after communities.

Learn more about The Woodlands and the health and wellness benefits of moving your corporate headquarters.