Downtown District

Trees and SidewalkThe Downtown District (PDF) is intended to serve as a community retail center in a mixed-use, pedestrian oriented environment. Open space, street trees, lighting, benches and other amenities create a human scale environment. The standards of this area are unique to the Downtown District.

Downtown Incentives

Chapter 380 Municipal Grant Program

On June 16, 2008, City Council amended the Chapter 380 municipal grant program to include new considerations for downtown projects. The minimum investment requirement of increased real and personal property was lowered to $250,000 to qualify for a grant. In addition to the uses already approved, grant funds may be utilized for downtown improvements such as paved sidewalks, facades, street lighting, signage, and benches. 

Please contact the Economic Development Coordinator at 281-996-3250 for information regarding qualifications.

Neighborhood Empowerment Zone 1

On June 16, 2008, the City Council designated the Downtown District as Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ) Number 1 (PDF). This designation provides the following incentives to encourage development, renovation, and expansion in the downtown district. The City will:

  • Waive 100% of all fees related to construction and development, including zoning, platting, site plan review, building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and gas permits;
  • Waive 100% of water and wastewater impact fees; and potentially abate real property taxes in accordance with the City’s tax abatement policies.

Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation

The Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation (FDEDC) is a one-eighth (1/8) of one-cent Type B sales tax corporation that was created as a result of voters’ approval in a May 2016 election for the purpose of improving and funding downtown district projects including but not limited to:

  • Maintenance and operations expenses of such projects
  • Paved sidewalks
  • Pedestrian amenities including lighting, benches, signage, and other related public improvements
  • Streets
  • Targeted infrastructure

The FDEDC is overseen by a seven member Board of Directors that are appointed by City Council. All FDEDC project expenditures must be approved by the Board and City Council.

Downtown Improvement Plan

On October 1, 2018, City Council adopted the Friendswood Downtown District Improvement Plan (PDF) that will serve as an implementation guide for the Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation regarding the future use of sales tax funds. A consultant team consisting of Lauren Griffith Associates (landscape architecture and urban design), Traffic Engineers, Inc. (transportation planning and design), Core Design Studio (branding), and Gandy2 (lighting design) created the plan after receiving input from residents, business and property owners, and community leaders from various stakeholder meetings, public meetings, and a downtown survey with over 1,000 responses. 

The Downtown Improvement Plan identifies future projects with associated costs for the downtown district that includes pedestrian amenities such as brick paved sidewalks, crosswalks, mast arm signalization, gateway and street signs and poles that will enhance and ensure a safe environment for the pedestrian experience for generations to come.