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    Zzinet News
    FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2005
    Business Leaders Announce Proposal for International Management District
    Alex Wang
    alex@zzi.net


    International Management District Steering Committee,
    P.O. Box 22167, Houston, TX 77227-2167
    Contact: Steve Pittman, Communications Director, 713-541-0447 (office) 713-206-1129 (cell)
    ________________________________________________________________

    January 6, 2005

    The Sharpstown Public Improvement District board of directors and International Management District steering committee will formally release a proposal to create a municipal management district in Southwest Houston on Friday, January 14.

    The nonprofit groups consist of civic and business leaders who see the new management district as a means to enhance safety, mobility, aesthetics, and economic growth for the burgeoning community.

    Similar to districts in the Galleria, Westchase, and Downtown areas, the proposed district would provide public enhancements, projects, and services through assessments on commercial property. If created, the new district would replace a smaller one known as the Sharpstown Public Improvement District (PID), established by the city of Houston in 1998.

    In fact, success of the Sharpstown PID has driven demand for similar supplemental services among adjacent neighborhoods and commercial areas, according to Kenneth Li, a senior PID board member and member of the International Management District steering committee.

    "We found that as the PID began to mature in its delivery of programs and services, nearby property owners, especially to the west, were seeking those same benefits," said Li. "This larger management district represents a mechanism to both continue existing PID services and offer those same supplemental services to a larger area."

    Li said that for commercial property owners already in the PID, creation of the new district would simply mean replacement of one assessment for another at the same rate. He said that while these property owners would not see a change in their annual payment, they would likely experience an increase in services and political strength due to the size of the new district.

    Fred Bhandara, co-chair of the steering committee and a major property owner within the proposed district, sees its creation as the means for Southwest Houston to reach its full economic potential.

    "Today there are more than 60 languages spoken in Southwest Houston," said Bhandara. "That diversity is represented in the members of our steering committee and the support we have from all sectors of the international business community. Our goal is to work collectively through this mechanism to establish Southwest Houston as a true international commercial corridor in this region and the global marketplace."

    Through various public and private meetings over the coming months, the steering committee will continue to garner input and support for its proposal, then present it as a bill for adoption in the 2005 Texas Legislature. Scott Hochberg, State Representative District 137, has agreed to sponsor the bill.

    Locally, M.J. Khan, Houston City Council Member District F, has been instrumental in organizing a broad-based coalition of stakeholders interested in the public projects and services such a district would offer.

    "In taking this initiative, the business and commercial property owners of Southwest Houston are seeking to ensure measured and sustainable growth, prosperity, and security for themselves and the residents of this multi-cultural community. As their council member, I want to serve that goal by assisting them in creation of this district," said Khan.

    In addition to Rep. Hochberg and Council Member Khan, State Senator Ellis, State Senator Janek, Mayor Bill White, and Houston City Council Members Quan, Sekula-Gibbs, Green, and Ellis have endorsed creation of the International District. The new District is also supported by the Sharpstown Civic Association, which represents some 6,000 area households.

    A press conference to announce the proposed International Management District will take place on Friday, January 14, 2005, 10 a.m., at the Ocean Palace Restaurant, 11215 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77072.

    ###


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