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Mayor praises retail, industry in ‘State of the City’

March 7, 2018

Using mostly “Animal House” movie clips and his natural sense of humor, Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos addressed members of the Baytown Chamber of Commerce and many community leaders Tuesday for his annual State of the City address, describing 2017 as FE-MArkable year.

DonCarlos started the address by recognizing the efforts of first responders, city staff and Baytonians during Hurricane Harvey, despite nearly 60 inches flooding the city with about 4,500 homes suffering flood damage. 

The mayor highlighted zero fatalities and zero instances of looting in the city as a result of the storm and attributed the resilience of the city to the efforts of city employees, first responders, the Cajun Navy and the community, who looked after one another throughout the storm. 

DonCarlos called their efforts “extraordinary.” 


But DonCarlos used the majority of his time to talk about the major and upcoming projects in Baytown, one being the highly anticipated remodel of the San Jacinto Mall. 

The million-square-foot project, which will be known as San Jacinto Marketplace, is an open-air concept that will feature a large, green-space plaza, creating a venue for a variety of gatherings, festivals, concerts and events.

“The delay in getting the project started has been that all three anchors (Macy’s, Sears and JC Penney) have to sign off on the project. They have to approve all of the plans,” said DonCarlos. “That has been, needless to say, a laborious project. JC Penney agreed to the terms, and I’m very pleased to announce today that after very long negotiations, Macy’s has agreed to the terms.”

“That leaves us with only one left, and that’s Sears,” he added. “And we don’t know how long Sears is going to be here but I can tell you negotiations are going on right now.” 

DonCarlos said he anticipates the paper work to be completed sometime this summer and that actual demolition will start around the first of 2019. 

DonCarlos also highlighted some the new retail to come to Baytown in 2017, which included Fuzzy’s Tacos, Dickey’s Barbecue, Mambo Seafood, Smoothie King, Salata, and soon-to-be Taco Cabana, which will move into the space Pollo Tropical used to occupy, in front of the Kroger Market Place on Garth.

H-E-B was also mentioned, since it was a store that citizens have wanted for years.  

“Our H-E-B opened this year with rave reviews,” said DonCarlos. “It has all the bells and whistles that our citizens could possibly want. Unsurprising to anybody in Baytown, it was one of the most successful openings for an H-E-B in their company’s history.”

Along with H-E-B, Baytown is developing a 100,000-square-foot new retail center next to the Texas grocery store.

DonCarlos discussed the Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital expansion, which includes three major projects: an outpatient facility, an observation unit and emergency room. 

“The San Jacinto project is in the first phase of what will be over $100 million investment by the Methodist Hospital system in our city,” said DonCarlos. “The first phase is underway now and it will be a tripling of the emergency room’s face and hospital, along with a large outpatient center on Baker Road.”    

Expansion will also include inpatient beds, new operating rooms and additional parking. 

The observation unit is slated to come online in April, the outpatient center is expected to come online in early 2019 while the emergency room expansion is expected to come on in two phases, both in 2019.  

To nearly triple the size of the emergency department, the hospital is adding a three-story tower in front of the hospital. 


The mayor also revealed that the Grand Parkway project, from the Fred Hartman Bridge to Chambers County coactive portion will get underway this year. 

“I’m guessing it will take a couple of years to complete,” DonCarlos said. “But that’s very, very good news to get that finally completed. That will help the traffic flow through our city, particularly the heavy trucks.”   

DonCarlos also mentioned the extension of San Jacinto Boulevard, which will go from Interstate 10, next to the Goose Creek CISD administration building, to Bush Road. The project is in two phases and is expected to help alleviate traffic on Garth Road. Phase one of the project will extend San Jacinto Boulevard from its current location to the Goose Creek CISD Administration Building and Cheddar’s restaurant to Bush Road. Phase one will also connect the boulevard to about 800 feet beyond Santavy Road. Phase one is expected to be complete by October.

Phase two will extend the roadway further south to tie in with Bush Road at West Cedar Bayou-Lynchburg, resulting in a continuous thoroughfare from Interstate 10 to Baker Road, which is slated for completion September 2019. 


The mayor also gave an update as to the progress of the two ethane cracker projects from Chevron Phillips and ExxonMobil, and said they’re finishing up and about to be online. Both are expected to produce at least 1.5 million metric tons of products annually. 

ExxonMobil anticipates startup in the second quarter of this year, which will support 350 new permanent positions, and generate $870 million a year in regional economic activity and $90 million per year in local tax revenues once it becomes operational. 

While Chevron Phillips has completed construction, they anticipate startup in the first of this year. Once it’s online, the project will add about 200 new permanent jobs.  

“Chevron Phillips has announced that they are considering a second ethane cracker project in potentially May 2019,” said DonCarlos. “As I understand our Cedar Bayou Plant is in the running for that.”

By Christopher James, Baytown Sun