The Woodlands was conceived after the oil industry investor George P. Mitchell attended a symposium by the Rouse Company subsidiary American City Corporation and developer of Columbia, Maryland. on how to develop new towns using the HUD Title VII program. It was dedicated by George P. Mitchell in 1974 and managed by The Woodlands Corporation as an extension of Mitchell Energy & Development. Mitchell, an oil businessman, planned to establish a conference center, hotels, office parks, retail malls, schools, large distribution centers, and golf courses. Houses would range from moderately low 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 HUD 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 partnership between Morgan Stanley and Crescent Real Estate Equities. In December 2003, The Rouse Company acquired Crescent's interest, and Rouse was bought by General Growth Properties on November 12, 2004. In 2011 The Woodlands was sold to the Howard Hughes Development Corporation.
The land was previously occupied by the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Mill, hence Grogan's Mill and Cochran's Crossing neighborhoods, called "villages". The original planning 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.
It continues to grow residentially and commercially as many companies are moving there. In addition to Chevron Phillips, Huntsman Corporation, Hewitt Associates, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Maersk, M&S Engineering and Woodforest National Bank have set up operations. The Town Center includes shopping and eating facilities as well as a waterway resembling the San Antonio River Walk.
On September 13, 2008, it sustained extensive damage from 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.
The summer of 2011 brought an unprecedented drought throughout Texas, which caused thousands of trees to die and requiring they be taken down, a process that continued into 2012.
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."
In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau designated the area around The Woodlands and Conroe as a "large urbanized transit area", defined as having over 200,000 residents, making it eligible to receive federal transportation funds.
From 2004-2018, water taxis known as "Waterway Cruisers" traveled along The Woodlands Waterway. On November 13, 2018, after suffering damage from Hurricane Harvey the year before, the six Waterway Cruisers were removed from the waterway
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For Sale|1,536 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|0.1562 acres|#10102968
For Sale|4,152 sqft|4 beds|3.5 baths|0.2586 acres|#29943295
For Sale|5,042 sqft|5 beds|4.5 baths|0.281 acres|#9154220
For Sale|3,512 sqft|4 beds|4 baths|0.71 acres|#29945320
For Sale|3,095 sqft|4 beds|3.5 baths|0.2161 acres|#31597657
For Sale|1,296 sqft|2 beds|2 baths|0.1138 acres|#88317213
For Sale|747 sqft|1 bed|1 bath|#50686053
For Sale|2,328 sqft|4 beds|3 baths|0.1674 acres|#56518509
For Sale|4,189 sqft|4 beds|4.5 baths|0.358 acres|#57417957
For Sale|1,983 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.2359 acres|#44783855
For Sale|2,157 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2156 acres|#64495067
For Sale|2,165 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2078 acres|#10665392
For Sale|2,590 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2094 acres|#94934560
For Sale|1,330 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.2112 acres|#96443525
For Sale|1,699 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|#11973491
For Sale|3,694 sqft|5 beds|3.5 baths|0.2351 acres|#46083398
For Sale|2,075 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2743 acres|#33352229
For Sale|4,433 sqft|5 beds|4.5 baths|0.321 acres|#23039087
For Sale|2,216 sqft|4 beds|2 baths|0.194 acres|#69383629
For Sale|1,941 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2197 acres|#92231592
For Sale|2,212 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1578 acres|#30654313
For Sale|2,409 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.28 acres|#95468425
For Sale|1,892 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.2539 acres|#6162911
For Sale|2,660 sqft|4 beds|3 baths|0.2428 acres|#17551384
For Sale|4,661 sqft|4 beds|4.5 baths|0.3702 acres|#49336596
Pending|1,836 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1944 acres|#28963360
For Sale|1,664 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|0.0886 acres|#98523227
For Sale|6,619 sqft|6 beds|6 baths|0.6862 acres|#83355083
For Sale|1,661 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|0.0609 acres|#67432388
For Sale|2,315 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1708 acres|#77132494
For Sale|1,930 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1928 acres|#15566193