Nassau Bay is growing, and a big barometer of that growth is the boom in new home construction, along with the new businesses coming in to accommodate the city’s growing population.
In the five years after Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, a total of five new homes were built in the community along Clear Lake, said City Manager Jason Reynolds. In 2016 alone, the city issued construction permits for six new homes.
“It’s pretty significant for our small city to see that many new home permits come in,” Reynolds said. “After Ike hit, we had to tear down a lot of homes that were severely damaged.”
Three more buyers have purchased lots and are working with the city to secure new home permits, Reynolds said. Construction on those homes is slated to begin this year.
The new houses are selling for more than $250,000, with the average home price about $330,000. One of the houses is on the water. Nassau Bay is surrounded on three sides by water — Clear Lake, Clear Creek and Cow Bayou. The city also has a lake adjacent to one of its four parks.
Some residents have purchased lots to extend their yards, city officials said. There are only 11 lots remaining in Nassau Bay, with four of them along the waterfront.
Reynolds attributed the resurgence of new homes to the business development taking place in the Houston Bay Area. Nassau Bay is adjacent to the NASA Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston. The city’s largest employer, Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, 18300 St. John Drive, is centrally located in the commercial corridor.
Houston Methodist St. John Hospital is renovating and expanding its labor and delivery center and neonatal intensive care unit. The center will provide a full spectrum of care, including 19 birthing suites with labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum, as well as two dedicated C-section operating rooms.
Methodist’s long-term campus plans include three more medical office buildings, additional facilities and 1,500 more parking spaces.
Meanwhile, construction is slated to begin soon on a new Buc-ee’s gas station and car wash at NASA Parkway and Nassau Bay Drive, said Roscoe Lee, chairman of the city’s planning commission. A hotel and a fast-food restaurant are also planned on the three tracts, Lee said.
“From a city financial standpoint, the additional residential and commercial developments are very positive changes because we’ll get additional sales tax from the businesses, additional property taxes, and residents will have additional places to shop and dine,” Lee said.
Nassau Bay’s prime location along Galveston Bay is a big draw for homebuyers, especially for new parents attracted by the Clear Creek Independent School District. The school district is ranked as the best large school district in the Houston Metropolitan Area by Children at Risk.
The Nassau Bay Peninsula is a 76-acre wetland area connected to Nassau Bay at the end of Harbour Drive. A nature trail, complete with benches and information signs, is open to the public.
Meanwhile, Nassau Bay has received two federal grants to elevate about 40 homes to protect them against hurricane storm tides. For better or worse, elevation of homes in the community is changing the look of the area, especially along Upper Bay Boulevard.
“It’s great for the community because it’s providing more protection for these homes against potential storm tides, and a new facade for the people driving down Upper Bay and other waterfront streets,” Reynolds said.
But the elevated homes also create a challenge, Lee said.
“The new homes have to go up taller because of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) requirements, so it’s changing the skyline of the city,” he said.
City building codes require the lower levels of elevated homes to be closed off on three sides and architecturally match the facade of the homes.
“Some residents prefer lower-profile homes,” Lee said. “Originally, the city had mostly single-story and some two-story homes, but now we’re seeing houses that look the equivalent of three stories in a vertical sense.”
Construction of the new homes in Nassau Bay is expected to be completed in about two years.