Johnson Development adding higher ed to master-planned community

Sam Houston State University’s 85K sf health building planned in Conroe

Johnson Development Adding Higher Ed to Conroe Campus
Johnson Development’s Michael Smith and rendering of Sam Houston State University Health Professions Building (Johnson Development, SmithGroup, Getty)

One of Houston’s real estate titans is expanding its master-planned community in Conroe through a partnership with Sam Houston State University.

The Sam Houston State University Health Professions Building, spanning 85,000 square feet, will rise within Johnson Development’s 2,000-acre Grand Central Park, the Houston Business Journal reported

The four-story building, set to cost an estimated $70 million, will be located next to SHSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. It will serve as a hub for the school’s allied health programs, including athletic training, dietetics, physician’s assistant and physical therapy. The Master of Science programs in athletic training and dietetics will relocate from Huntsville.

The building, designed to strengthen “the mission and vision of the College of Health Sciences,”  will feature skills labs, collaborative classrooms, exam rooms and a demo kitchen. Exterior spaces will extend the learning environment outdoors, including an outdoor fitness area for the physical therapy gym.

A campus library, food pantry and various student services are also planned, the outlet said. 

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Construction is expected to commence in May and be completed in January 2026. Michigan-based SmithGroup will oversee design, while Arizona-based Kitchell serves as the construction manager. 

The project aligns with SHSU’s broader expansion plans for its Conroe campus, where its enrollment headcount is expected to grow from about 200 to 750 students by fall 2031. 

Johnson Development, meanwhile, is spearheading a number of master-planned communities across the Houston area, including a 4,900-home project in Hockley and 2,800-home development in Katy

At full build, Grand Central Park is set to include 1,700 luxury homes, a 13-acre amenity complex and more than 250,000 square feet of retail, according to the firm’s website.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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