An important part of George Mitchell’s original vision was to attract first-class medical research, centers, doctors, hospitals and other companies to The Woodlands, creating a true miniature city in which people could live, work and play. In 1982, Houston Advanced Research Center announced plans for a research campus and initial building in The Woodlands – hence the Research Forest area was established. By 1998, one million square feet of commercial space was underway with major companies soon renting from the development or buying property to build their own facilities. Today,The Woodlands is home to several Bio-Tech companies as well as many other businesses in a variety of industries, many of which have established their home office here. Some of these companies include, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Huntsman, Chevron Phillips, Conn’s, Occidental Petroleum, Hughes Christensen, and Aon Hewitt. Just to the south of The Woodlands is the corporate headquarters for Exxon Mobil – a 20-story building, 3 million square foot, 385 acre corporate campus which houses over 10,000 employees. The Dallas campus will be joining The Woodlands campus in 2023.
In 2013, The Woodlands started construction on another major commercial/retail center – Hughes Landing – which includes high-end apartments, many fabulous restaurants along Restaurant Row, a large Whole Foods Market and other retail outlets. Today the Town Center is a vibrant, urban, mixed-use, pedestrian and transit-friendly downtown- style area. It contains office as well as retail, cultural and recreational venues, providing a great resource for residents and attracting a variety of visitors to the area. Today, over 75% of the sales tax receipts in The Woodlands come from non-residents.