A crumbling Sears department store is being converted into a sparkling, state-of-the-art space for early-stage tech startups to receive financing and expert advice. The shell of a Baker Hughes Co. facility that manufactured oil and gas equipment is home to a bustling “maker lab” for 33 tenants. A 300,000-square-foot complex incubating the next tech ideas for the likes of Johnson & Johnson and AT&T Inc. is known affectionately as “the cookie factory,” because it was originally the home of Nabisco.
These scenes from Houston are part of an attempted industrial resurrection for the nation’s fourth-largest city, which is trying to move from older companies that were a part of the city’s oil-propelled boom to an economy based on fostering technology. The crown jewel of this renaissance could be the gleaming new corporate headquarters of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.