Friday AM January 9th, 2009

The Greater Houston Partnership begins its 20th year, with the installation of Dan Bellow as its 2009 chairman. The partnership is addressing uncertain economic times as it makes plan for the year, as Ed Mayberry reports.

image of blue glass building

New Partnership chairman Daniel Bellow, from commercial real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, says 2008 was a year of great accomplishments, but 2009 will be a year of dramatic change and opportunity.

“We all know that 2009 will be year of corporate and public sector transition, consolidation, downsizing, restructuring, and — we hope — some growth, at home and abroad.  I can tell you this: if we’re fortunate to live in Houston during times of prosperity, we’re even more fortunate to live in Houston during times of economic change and opportunity like we see today.”

The partnership predicts the loss of 45,700 jobs in the Houston area this year.  Bellow says he’d like to see the creation of 12,000 jobs to offset those displacements.  He says the partnership’s strategic plan includes attracting businesses to Houston. 

“We’re ready to deal with this adversity, if you will — this economic downturn — because during the recent economic boom in Houston, we did the heavy lifting.  And we raised $32 million to fund the Opportunity Houston program.  Those funds are the ones today that are providing the financial resources for economic development and lead generation activities so that we can stay on the offensive during the recession, and be posed for growth once the global recovery begins.”

Bellow says job losses in Houston won’t be as severe as in the rest of the country.  Key industries are more stable than other regions and the housing market is more varied. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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