The Woodlands

The Woodlands The Woodlands

The Woodlands is a master-planned community and a Census-designated place (CDP) in the US state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. The population of the CDP was 55,649 at the 2000 census—a 90% increase over its 1990 population. According to the 2010 census, The Woodlands’ population rose by 68.6% to 93,847 in 2010.

The Woodlands is located 32 miles (51 km) north of Houston along Interstate 45. Though it began as a suburban development and a bedroom community, it also has attracted corporations to the area. As a result, the area features several corporate campuses, most notably Chevron Phillips, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Baker Hughes, CB&I, US Oncology, Hewitt Associates, Maersk Line, and Safmarine. The development won a Special Award for Excellence in 1994 from the Urban Land Institute.


The Woodlands was dedicated by George P. Mitchell in 1974, managed by The Woodlands Corporation as an extension of Mitchell Energy & Development. Mitchell, an oil businessperson, planned to establish a conference center, hotels, office parks, retail malls, schools, large distribution centers, and golf courses. The house offerings would range from affordable to expensive and large. Bill Schadewald of the Houston Business Journal said that Mitchell wanted the development to “entice city slickers looking for far-flung suburban quality of life.” Schadewald said that local sources stated that the New Town program, a federally funded program, had a “low survival rate” and questioned whether The Woodlands would succeed.

The Woodlands Corporation was acquired on July 31, 1997 by a joint partnership between Morgan Stanley and Crescent Real Estate Equities. In December 2003, the Rouse Company acquired Crescent’s interest in The Woodlands, Rouse was itself sold to General Growth Properties Inc. on November 12, 2004. In 2011 The Woodlands was sold to the Howard Hughes Development Corporation.

The tract of land where The Woodlands is situated was previously occupied by the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Mill and are the namesakes for the Grogan’s Mill and Cochran’s Crossing neighborhoods, called “villages”. The original planning of The Woodlands utilized many of the planning concepts and design consultants employed in other well regarded new communities of that era such as Columbia, Maryland, Irvine Ranch, California and Reston, Virginia. The original development plan included environmental design principles espoused by Ian McHarg, a distinguished landscape architect, teacher and author of the seminal work “Design With Nature.”

The Woodlands continues to grow residentially and commercially as many companies are moving to The Woodlands. In addition to Chevron Phillips, Huntsman, Anadarko, Hewitt Associates, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Mærsk Sealand, Chicago Bridge & Iron, and Woodforest National Bank have set up operations in the development. The Woodlands Town Center area includes shopping and eating facilities, plus a waterway resembling the San Antonio River Walk, yet unique in its design and Water Taxis now known as “Waterway Cruisers” that are enclosed and cooled for added comfort.

On September 13, 2008, The Woodlands sustained extensive damage because of Hurricane Ike. Sustained winds of 85 mph (137 km/h) brought down thousands of trees, powerlines, and billboards in the area and severely damaged the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Ike was the first hurricane to directly affect the area since Hurricane Alicia in 1983.

In 2011 Schadewald said “Now: Obviously, The Woodlands had quite a future. Somewhere between First Colony and The Woodlands, I realized why visionary real estate developers strike it rich more often than skeptical real estate reporters.”


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 23.9 square miles (62 km2), of which, 23.4 square miles (61 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (2.09%) is water.

The development is situated in a heavily forested area and much of the community has retained trees for shade and decoration. The terrain is of small rolling hills.


The Woodlands is considered to have a humid subtropical climate.


As of 2010, there were 93,847 people. The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.8% White, 2.3% Black, 0.3% Native American, 4.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 0.2% Other, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latino of any race were 12.3% of the population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 55,649 people, 19,881 households, and 15,546 families residing in the CDP.[16] The population density was 2,328.4 people per square mile (900.5/km²).There were 21,014 housing units at an average density of 897.7 per square mile (346.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.36% White, 1.75% Black, 0.29% Native American, 2.80% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28% of the population.

There were 19,881 households out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.2% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $85,253, and the median income for a family was $98,675. Males have a median income of $78,642 versus $38,505 for females. The Per capita income for the CDP was $37,724. About 3.0% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the CDP had risen to $94,626, and the median income for a family had risen to $113,243.


By 2000 a significant amount of corporate office space was under construction in The Woodlands. Of the 4,800,000 square feet (450,000 m2) of office space under construction in Greater Houston, over one third of it was in The Woodlands.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has its headquarters in The Woodlands. On February 11, 1999 Anadarko announced that it would purchase a 7.5-acre (30,000 m2) tract in The Woodlands from The Woodlands Land Company. There Anadarko planned to 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2), 32 story headquarters building. Anadarko planned to open the headquarters in mid-2002. As of 2000 the Anadarko building was the largest office project in The Woodlands.

In January 2012, Anadarko announced the imminent construction of a sister tower on site. The building will rise 31-stories of which 10 of those will be designated for parking. According to a press release released by the company, site work had already begun and construction of the tower would be complete by 2014. The building will sit at the corner of Woodloch Forest and Lake Robbins Dr. This building, like the completed sister tower, will be the tallest in Montgomery County and the tallest building between Houston and Dallas.

Chicago Bridge & Iron’s worldwide administrative office is in The Woodlands.

In 2000 work began on a 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) building for Maersk Sealand in The Woodlands.

In 2011 ExxonMobil announced plans to construct a new complex on a 385 acre plot of land near the intersection of the Hardy Toll Road and Interstate 45, which is in the Houston ETJ and will be annexed by Houston in the future. About 15,000 employees of the company in the Houston area will relocate to the campus starting in 2014, with full occupancy done by 2015.

Other companies based in The Woodlands include Woodforest National Bank, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, US Oncology, Tetra Technologies and Kroger Texas.

As of the same year, many wealthy Mexican nationals who settled in the Woodlands due to rising crime in Mexico had established businesses in The Woodlands.

Government and Infrastructure

United States Postal Services post office include The Woodlands Post Office at 9450 Pinecroft Drive and the Panther Creek Post Office at 10800 Gosling Road.

The central law enforcement agency in the Woodlands is the Montgomery County sheriff’s Office. They patrol all roads and highways within the CDP and have a barracks located within the area.

Culture and Entertainment

The Woodlands offers many entertainment venues including two movie theaters, over 150 restaurants, a publicly accessible waterway, and dancing waterfalls with music. Also featured is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, summer home of the Houston Symphony and catering to many large acts (rock bands to classical). The Woodlands Waterway will eventually be more than 1/2 mile long, reaching from The Woodlands Mall around to Lake Woodlands and featuring wide, lighted sidewalks along both sides and Waterway Taxis. Additional attractions include Market Street, an old style “Main Street” pedestrian shopping district, home to a movie theater and a variety of shops and restaurants. The Woodlands Mall borders the waterway and is adjacent to Market Street, thus forming a large pedestrian friendly shopping district. In addition, each of the “villages” in The Woodlands has its own shopping center with a core grocery store and various shops, banks, gas, restaurants, etc.


Most students in the Montgomery County-portion of The Woodlands attend schools in the Conroe Independent School District. Children residing in the May Valley neighborhood in Sterling Ridge Village attend schools in the Magnolia Independent School District. Children from the Creekside Park Village in Harris County attend the Tomball Independent School District. Montgomery County Memorial Library System operates two libraries in The Woodlands, the South Branch and the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library. Most schools in The Woodlands have the honored rank of an exemplary school, the highest possible school ranking in Texas. Texas students are administered the TAKS test, a review of general knowledge, which can determine students promotion to the next grade level.

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Woodlands High School (TWHS) serves the western portion of The Woodlands in Montgomery County. Refer to the Conroe School District for specific feeders. TWHS was ranked 295 on Newsweek’s 2011 list of America’s Best High Schools.

The Woodlands College Park High School, which opened in 2005, is a second high school serving the eastern portion of The Woodlands in Montgomery County. Refer to the Conroe School District for specific feeders. Magnolia High School serves pupils residing in the neighborhood of May Valley, and Tomball High School serves pupils residing inside the Harris County portion of the township.

Junior high schools

* Montgomery County: Knox Junior High School, McCullough Junior High School, Bear Branch Junior High School
* Harris County: Tomball Junior High School

Colleges and universities

Lone Star College (originally the North Harris Montgomery Community College District) serves the community. The territory in Conroe ISD joined the community college district in 1991, and the territory in Tomball ISD had joined the district in 1982. The headquarters of the Lone Star College System are located in The Woodlands and in unincorporated Montgomery County, Texas. The district moved to its current location on March 17, 2003.