Pearland is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. Most of the city is in Brazoria County, with portions extending into Fort Bend and Harris counties. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 91,252, up from a population of 37,640 at the 2000 census. Pearland's population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 142 percent, which ranked Pearland as the 15th fastest growing city in the U.S. during that time period, compared to other cities with a population of 10,000 or greater in 2000. Pearland is the third largest city in the Houston MSA, and from 2000 to 2010, ranked as the fastest growing city in the Houston MSA and the second fastest growing city in Texas.
The area that is now Pearland had its humble beginnings near a siding switch on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1882. When a post office was established in 1893, the community was originally named Mark Belt. On September 24, 1894, the plat of "Pear Land" was filed with the Brazoria County courthouse by Witold von Zychlinski, a man of Polish nobility. At the time Pearland had many fruits harvested by residents. Zychlinski saw the pear trees and decided that "Pearland" would make a good name for the community.
Pearland was promoted by developers Allison & Richey Land Company as an "agricultural Eden". The first subdivision was called Suburban Gardens. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the Galveston hurricane of 1915 destroyed most of the fruit trees and slowed growth for a considerable period of time, and caused a period ofdesertification in the area. In 1914, with agriculture rebounding and the end of desertification, Pearland had a population of 400, but a devastating freeze in 1918 was another setback to the local farming enterprises. Oil was discovered nearby in 1934, which led to the development of the Hastings Oilfield, though it did not spur much growth, as the population fluctuated between 150 and 350. From the 1970s, the town has grown to its present-day population.
In the 1800s, Pearland consisted of prairie. Residents harvested fruit and vegetables such as cantaloupes, corn, figs, pears and watermelons. In the 1930s and 1940s Pearland had many dance halls and beer joints that entertained people from the Hastings and Manvel oil fields.
By 1990, the city limits had extended into Harris County. In the 1990s, home developers began buying large tracts of land, changing the geography of the city. Former rice fields filled with houses. The historic town center of Pearland is at the intersection of Texas State Highway 35/Main and Broadway. West Pearland has a lot of suburban development, while East Pearland has older houses and, according to Maggie Galehouse of theHouston Chronicle, Pearland's "rural roots still show" in the east side. Pearland's main east-west corridor is Farm to Market Road 518/Broadway.
Pearland's labor force and job base grew substantially with its population growth. The number of jobs in the community grew from 9,169 in 2000 to 17,552 in 2008. The total labor force that resides in the community increased from approximately 20,000 in 2000 to 45,368 in 2010. A majority of the community's labor force commutes daily into the Texas Medical Center and other employment centers in the region. Pearland also has many people employed by NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Pearland's workforce and community amenities have made Pearland an attractive location for large medical-related companies seeking new quarters. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's new 170,000 square-foot administrative office building in Shadow Creek Ranch is expected to open in the Fall of 2013, with 800 employees. This follows two other medical manufacturing facilities: Cardiovascular Systems, which opened in 2010, and Merit Medical Systems, which began construction in 2011. The Merit project, 118,000 square feet, will provide facilities for 220 research and development employees.
Recognized as Texas' top-rated retail market , Pearland's retail sector offers residents first-class shopping and dining experiences. From 2004 to 2009, Pearland was one of two Texas cities to average double-digit growth in retail sales. Prominent mixed-use lifestyle and shopping complexes service residents with national retailers and dining establishments.
Pearland Town Center – A 1,100,000 sq ft (100,000 m2). lifestyle center. Opened in July 2008. Includes Macy's, Dillard's, Sports Authority, and Barnes and Noble. Restaurants include BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Mimi's Cafe, and Red Lobster.
Shadow Creek Town Center – A 640,265 sq ft (59,482.6 m2). Retail and dining center. Retail stores include HEB Plus, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Hobby Lobby, and Ashley Furniture. Also houses the Pearland Westside Library.
The Spectrum District – Existing developments include Bass Pro Shop. Proposed developments include urban residential, office, and retail projects.
Silverlake Village Shopping Center – Silverlake Village is anchored by Super Target, and features a host of other national retailers including Michael's, Marshalls, PetSmart, Ross, DSW, Office Depot and Randalls. Joe's Crab Shack, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Chili's, and Carrabba's Italian Grill as some of the restaurants located here.
The Crossing @ 288 – Best Buy, JCPenney, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Half Price Books and other stores and restaurants such as Olive Garden and Chipotle's.
Shadow Creek Market Place – (Located at NW Corner of SC Pkwy & Hwy 288) Kroger Signature store, Cracker Barrel, Bank of America, Chase Bank and other stores.
Cinemark Movies 12
Reserve at SCR – Kelsey-Seybold, Memorial Herman and HCA.
The Pearland Library at 3522 Liberty Drive is a part of the Brazoria County Library System. As of September 13, 2008 the library was closed for many months due to Hurricane Ike storm damage. It reopened in March 2009.
The system also operates the Pearland Westside Library, located on 6,000 square feet (560 m2) of space in the Shadow Creek Ranch Town Center.