Houston First Corporation has launched two online initiatives to help motorists and other visitors navigate Houston’s rapidly changing downtown Convention District.
Houston First, which manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and a number of other municipal properties, has developed an email message system called BUILD that notifies subscribers of changes affecting traffic near the downtown convention center.
From the "eblast" summary, readers may click on a link to HoustonConventionDistrict.com to learn in more detail about lane changes, street closures and other construction-related news. The website also has the latest project renderings, live construction webcams and other updates.
Both projects document the reinvention of the neighborhood around the GRB as undertaken by Houston First. By the time the Super Bowl comes to Houston in 2017, the GRB will be connected to a second hotel, the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis. This will make Houston’s convention center the only one in the state to be connected to two 1,000-room hotels.
The GRB will also ultimately have a new grand entrance and the boulevard in front of the building will be redesigned to draw the GRB closer to Discovery Green park across the street. New restaurants will be located in the front of the convention center.
In addition, a new 10-story office building is being built on the north end of the GRB and, like the Marriott, it will be connected to the convention center with a skybridge. The new complex will also feature street-level retail, a garage to accommodate nearly 2,000 cars and another hotel that will be principally located above the garage.
Adjacent to that complex and next to Minute Maid Park, the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage is scheduled to break ground on November 12. And in the middle of all this, a new light-rail line is expected to be open next April.
"No question, downtown Houston is growing like never before," said Luther Villagomez, chief operating officer for Houston First. "I’ve never seen this level of development and I’ve been at the GRB since it opened in 1987.
"With this much construction activity taking place, it is imperative that we reach out to both those who commute to work downtown and those who are planning to attend future conventions here at the GRB," Villagomez said.
"Our eblast and website will be nothing but the facts and I encourage everyone to stay informed by signing up for BUILD."
Subscribing to BUILD is free and can be done through a link found on the HoustonConventionDistrict.com home page. BUILD launched in October and is expected to be emailed every week once work begins in earnest in November.