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What's New in Houston

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HOUSTON -- Development never stops in Houston. Consider this your go-to guide for staying in the know on the nation's fourth largest city.

For a comprehensive list of all recent Houston openings, please click here.


 

   MAJOR PROJECTS


Downtown's Houston Entertainment Complex Becomes GreenStreet - Redevelopment Completed Fall 2014
Changes to the 568,294-square-foot Convention District complex formerly known as the Houston Pavilions included the creation of a vibrant, park-like landscape, an installation of water features, dynamic green space and outdoor patios. The development includes restaurants, retail and entertainment concepts such as House of Blues, Forever XXI, III Forks, McCormick & Schmick's and Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes & Lounge. New unique programming and events throughout the property create an inviting and synergistic experience for guests to enjoy. Owner Midway continues to announce tenant additions to the property. In early 2015, ground will break on Hotel Alessandra, a boutique property that will serve as a new anchor to GreenStreet. More...

Princess and Norwegian Cruise into Port of Houston - 2014
The Port of Houston Authority partnered with two separate cruise lines, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines, to offer new service from the Bayport Cruise Terminal. Princess Cruises began making passenger cruise calls in November 2013, while Norwegian Cruise Lines launched service in October 2014.  More...

Major Revival in Downtown's Historic District - Ongoing
A slew of new restaurant and bar openings surrounding Market Square and the Historic District has made Downtown Houston the place to be once more. New spots such as The Honeymoon, The Pastry War and Batanga now mingle with tried and true favorites like La Carafe and Warren's Inn. In addition, two new residential projects and significant developments along Buffalo Bayou keep the buzz going. More...


METRORail Expansion - To Launch Early 2015

Threerail lines recently completed or under construction will bring Houston to 22.7 miles of rail, allowing locals and visitors to access a variety of neighborhoods via the train, including Downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, East End, East Downtown (EaDo), Third Ward and the Texas Medical Center. Key attractions along the new lines include the GeorgeR. Brown Convention Center, Houston Theater District, BBVA Compass Stadium -- home of the MLS Houston Dynamo, University of Houston and Texas Southern University. The north side extension of the Red Line was completed in December, adding another 5.3 miles to the 7.5-miles that already existed. The remaining two lines will be complete by year-end. More...


Gorillas of the African Forest at the Houston Zoo - To Open Spring 2015
The $28 million natural habitat--Phase 2 of the African Forest project that opened at the Zoo in 2010--will feature a waterfall, a flowing stream, natural and artificial logs and a boardwalk for visitors to get a closer look at the gorillas. The project will also include construction of a gorillanight house--a large climate-controlled area where the gorillas will sleep and stay during inclement weather. Zoo officials initially plan to bring in four to six gorillas, a number expected to expand to 10-15 when the family grows. Construction is underway.  More...


Hobby International Airport Expansion - To Open mid-2015

Southwest Airlines is spending $150 million to upgrade William P. Hobby Airport into Houston's second international gateway. On the horizon, passengers can expect an additional parking garage, roadway modifications, new concourse and an expanded terminal, all of which willhelp accommodate international flights to and from Houston. The expanded terminal will make room for a new ticket counter, six additional security checkpoints, five new gates and a Federal Inspections Services facility for Customs and Borders Protection. More...


Developments Underway in Convention District - To Be Completed in 2016
Construction began in April 2014 on a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis, with completion estimated in mid-2016. The hotel will be connected to the north side of George R. Brown Convention Center, opposite the 1,200-roomHilton Americas-Houston that is connected to the south side of the center. The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, 70,000-square-foot visitor and tourism center, broke ground adjacent to the convention center in fall 2014. Meanwhile, the front facade of the GRB itself is being renovated to include ground-level restaurants and a new concourse.Other changes include an art-inspired promenade along Avenida de La Americas and a new convention center parking garage. More...

 

Grand Texas - Phase 1 To Be Completed Summer 2016
A major theme park and entertainment complex is going up on hundreds of acres just off Highway 59 in Montgomery County. The park, with multiple roller coasters and attractions will be developed in phases. Other elements of the project will include a water park, equestrian trails, retail and live shows. More...

 

Lone Star Flight Museum - Relocating/Expanding in 2016
The Lone Star Flight Museum will relocate from Galveston to Houston's Ellington Airport. Groundbreaking on the new museum is slated for early next year and slated for completion in early 2016. The $25 million Houston facility in is expected to be 125,000 square feet, composed of hangar space for aircraft display and storage, an auditorium, exhibit hall, library, gift shop and cafeteria. More...


Museum of Fine Arts Houston Expansion - To Be Completed 2019
In early 2015, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston revealed expansion plans that will change the face of the cultural institution in the years to come. The $450 million project includes two new buildings that will complement the institution's two existing structures as well as a complete reimagining of the north side of the campus with pedestrian-friendly additions and underground parking. The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building building will feature two floors of gallery exhibition space, a theater, cafe, meeting space and a restaurant. Holl will also oversee the new 80,000-square-foot Glassell School design. Construction on the project will start later this year and is expected to be finished by 2019. More... 
 

   PARKS AND GREEN SPACES

 

Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park - Opened October 2014
The former 15-acre Garden Center site was reborn as the Centennial Gardens in celebration of the Park's 100th anniversary. Hoerr Schaudt, the Chicago landscape architecture firm, collaborated with White Oak Studio in Houston on the gardens' design, which will feature a rose garden, an interactive family garden and a sculpture promenade featuring public art donated by countries around the world. More...

$58 Million Buffalo Bayou Park Renovation - To be Completed Spring 2015
The transformation of the 160-acre, 2.3-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street is underway. The $58 million project isa public-private partnership led by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the City of Houston's Houston Parks and Recreation Department, theHarris County Flood Control District and with catalyst funding from the Kinder Foundation. Construction began in summer 2012 to restore the area to a more natural and self-sustaining state, reintroduce native landscapes and add amenities to enhance safety and convenience for visitors. Improvements will include:

  • A restoration of natural landscapes, including trees and native grasses
  • Upgraded or new trails for walkers and hikers to enjoy nature including places for canoes and kayaks to launch
  • Two pedestrian bridges
  • An extension of the distinctive blue lunar cycle lighting
  • New destination features such as The Water Works adjacent to the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, Lost Lake near Dunlavy and Allen Parkway, a dog park near Studemont and Allen Parkway and modifications to a portion of Eleanor Tinsley Park
  • Additional benches, picnic spots and drinking fountains  More...

Also underway by Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston First Corp. is the restoration of the Sunset Coffee Buildingon Allen's Landing, the site where Houston was founded, into a canoe/kayak and bicycle rental center as well as an event rental space and coffee shop.


Emancipation Park  - To Be Completed Late 2015
Houston's longest standing public green space is undergoing a $33 million makeover. Third Ward's Emancipation Park was purchased by former slaves in 1870as a dedicated place for them to celebrate Juneteenth. Plans call for a new LEED-certified recreation facility, basketball gym, public artwork, small pavilions, a baseball field and more. The renovations are expectedto act as a development catalyst for this part of Third Ward. More...

Memorial Park Master Plan - Ongoing through 2025
A new master plan could bring more than $200 million in renovations to Houston's largest park. The 1,500-acre Memorial Park near the Galleria district will soon see an update to its 3-mile jogging trail. But more long term plans call for a land bridge over Memorial Drive, an indoor swimming pool, additional bike and pedestrian trails and a rugby pitch, just to name a few elements. Once it's approved, the master plan could take up to 10 years to completely realize. More...

Houston Botanic Garden
In early 2014, the Houston City Council approved a contract with the group Houston Botanic Garden to take over an aging golf course in Southeast Houston. The group has until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million that will allow them to take control of the property and begin developing a major botanic garden on the site. Altogether, the first phase of the project is expected to cost $40 million and take several years to construct. The group continues to fundraise and is in the process of hiring a firm to develop a master plan for the site. More...
 

   HOTELS


JW Marriott - Opened September 2014
Downtown's 102-year-old Samuel F. Carter Building is being transformed into a 323-room JW Marriott. Pearl Hospitality is spending $80.8 millionto develop the new luxury hotel at the corner of Rusk and Main streets.The hotel will include a full-service restaurant dubbed Main Kitchen, 806 Lounge, as well as a spa, health club, executive lounge and 16,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is slated to open early September 2014. Chef Erin Smith will oversee the hotel's culinary operations, including the 120-seat Main Kitchen. More...

Coming Soon

Holiday Inn - Opening Late 2014
A development group will turn the former Savoy Hotel that straddles Downtown and Midtown into a Holiday Inn. The 17-story property on Main Street has been closed since the late 1980s, but the new owners say they have plans to turn the property into the city's flagship Holiday Inn within a year. Work on the intense renovation has already begun. More...

 

SpringHill Suites - Opening Mid-2015
Just a few blocks west of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the historic Humble Oil Building complex at Main Street and Dallas is getting a new 166-room SpringHill Suites hotel. The complex is already home to a 191-room Courtyard and 171-room Residence Inn. The property's owner, RLJ Lodging, intends to convert an existing 82-unit apartment tower into the new hotel. More...


Hyatt Regency & Hyatt Place - Opening Late 2015
A 325-room Hyatt Regency and 157-room Hyatt Place are rising next to the Galleria in the Uptown area. Gensler architects designed the project, which is being developed by Songy Highroads and The Carlyle Group. More...

Marriott Marquis - Opening Fall 2016

RIDA Development Corp. broke ground in April 2014 on the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis that will rise adjacent to the GRB Convention Center. The massive hotel, along with the existing Hilton Americas Houston, will bookend Discovery Green and dramatically increase Houston's ability to host major conventions. The hotel will feature a rooftop lazy river and more than 104,000 square feet of meeting space, including Houston's largest ballroom. A two-story sports bar, two restaurants, a coffee shop and wine bar will help round out the amenities at the Marquis. More...

 
Hotel Alesandra - Opening Fall 2016

One much-anticipated new hotel project will help anchor the mixed-use GreenStreet development Downtown. Hotel Alessandra will be a tall, narrow tower at Fannin and Polk streets with 225 rooms. Valencia Group is spending $67 million on the 25-story project that will include 10,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space as well as an indoor/outdoor event deck and a restaurant and bar. More...

   RESTAURANTS


Weights + Measures - Opened January 2015
Bar owner Ian Rosenberg and business partner Mike Sammons developed a Midtown project bringing a restaurant, bakery and bar together under one roof. Weights + Measures features Slow Dough Bread Co.'s first retail shop as well as 150-seat restaurant. More...

Prohibition - Opened November 2014
Aburlesque and cabaret concept that's built a following in the Galleria area will move to a historic space Downtown in late summer. Prohibition is taking over an 8,500-square-foot building on the edge of the Downtown Historic District, one block from the recently opened El Big Bad restaurant. The space has been renovated to include second-floor mezzanines and 40-foot ceilings. The bar and restaurant space will be open six days a week and a separate Supper Club will open for shows and special events. More...

Bistro Menil - Opened October 2014
Chef Greg Martin heads the kitchen at Bistro Menil, the airy eatery opened in October on the picturesque campus of the Menil Collection. The bistro offers an ever-changing, farm-to-table menu. More...

Holley's - Opened August 2014
Acclaimed Chef Mark Holley has opened his new namesake restaurant in Midtown. The expansive eatery takes over the space most recently inhabited by Sushi Raku in The Mix complex at Louisiana and Elgin. The contemporary seafood restaurant features a mix of Creole classics Holleyis known for and new experiences from the chef such as a raw bar. More...

Springbok - Opened September 2014
Originally hailing from South Africa, Los Angeles restaurateurs Peter Walker and Andrew Segal have launched Springbok Bar & Grill in downtown Houston, an authentic rugby bar showcasing diverse Southern Hemisphere foods. More...

Common Bond - Opened June 2014
A major new bakery at the intersection of Westheimer and Dunlavy bowed in early June. Pastry Chef Roy Shvartzapel assembled a crackerjack team for Common Bond. A climate-controlled pastry room, 24-foot bakery case, extensive bread program and wine and beer bar are just a few of the elements that set Common Bond in a league of its own. A fully exposed kitchen and 40-seat patio are already making this café a Montrose destination. More...

Killen's BBQ - Opened February 2014
Chef Ronnie Killen, best known for his icehouse-turned-fine-dining-restaurant Killen's Steakhouse, has opened Killen's Barbecue in Pearland. Even before the restaurant opened it was garnering rave reviews with folks lining up each weekend since April 2013 to wait as long as two hours for a taste of Killen's smoked meats. More...

Punk's Simple Southern Food - Opened February 2014
Clark, Cooper and Key will also open Punk's Simple Southern Food, the partners' most casual concept to date, which celebrates classic southerndishes pulled from the regions from the Gulf Coast up through the Carolinas. Next door to Coppa Osteria, the spot will offer Southern farewith a twist. Half of the 3,596 square-foot-space will be devoted to patio seating. More...


Weights + Measures - Opened January 2015

Bar owner Ian Rosenberg and business partner Mike Sammons developeda Midtown project bringing a restaurant, bakery and bar togetherunder one roof. Weights + Measures features Slow Dough Bread Co.'s first retail shop as well as 150-seat restaurant. More...

Coming Soon

Hunky Dory - Winter 2015
Chris Cusack of Down House is teaming up with Chef Richard Knight, formerly with Feast, to create a new outside-the-box concept dubbed Hunky Dory in the Heights. The "modern tavern" will feature some of the more unusual British-style dishes that Knight was known for at Feast. The spot also promises to be visually stunning thanks to celebrated Austin-based designer Michael Hsu. More...

Bernadine's - Winter 2015
Bernadine's, a new restaurant from Executive Chef Graham Laborde, will be a postcard from the Gulf Coast. Inspired by the cuisine found all along the I-10 corridor, the menu will consist of everything from grilled oysters to roast duck and BBQ crab to house-made boudin. It will be located next door to Hunky Dory. More...

Foreign Correspondents - Winter 2015
Houstonfishmonger PJ Stoops will lead the kitchen at this new Thai restaurant focused on local ingredients prepared in traditional northern Thai style. The restaurant will seat approximately 200 in its bar, dining room and shaded patio. More...

Fluff Bake Bar- Winter 2015

Houston Pastry Chef Rebecca Masson debuted her Fluff Bake Bar concept in 2011. But the goal has always been to open a permanent, bricks-and-mortar spot that would serve Masson's desserts alongside a well curated wine and beer menu. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2013 that raised $53,000, plans are in motion to bring the permanent Fluff Bake Bar to Houston's trendy Midtown neighborhood this fall. Fluffernutters will definitely be on the menu. More...

   THE ARTS


Coming Soon


The Menil Collection Selects Landscape Architect as Part of Campus Plan - Ongoing (Phase One Began Late 2013)
The Menil Collection has appointed Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) to enhance and expand the landscape design of the institution’s 30-acre campus. The appointment signals the beginning of implementation of the Menil’s master plan for its urban “neighborhood of art,” as the enclave of museum buildings, green spaces, and bungalows has been called. The Menil’s project, undertaken on the basis of a master site plan by David Chipperfield Architects, calls for the creation of additional green space and walkways, new visitor amenities such as a cafe, and the addition of new buildings for art. The first new art building on campus will be the Menil Drawing Institute, a freestanding center for the exhibition, collection, conservation and study of modern and contemporary drawings, to be designed by the Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee. MVVA’s work will begin with the creation of a new entrance sequence on the north side of the Menil’s campus. More...

Main Street Theater Renovation - To Be Completed Late 2014
Main Street Theater is embarking on a $3 million capital campaign to renovate and add its space in Rice Village--and it's already almost halfway there. Plans call for adding a second level of classroom/rehearsal space as well as new restrooms, a major redo of the lobby, concession areas and more. Major construction will likely start in early 2014. More...

Alley Theatre Renovation - To Be Completed September 2015
The Alley Theatre broke ground in late June on its largest-ever renovation. The theater's $73 million capital campaign continues to raise money to fund the renovation and support ongoing artistic initiatives and the endowment. Since 1968, no major renovation has been made to the Hubbard Stage -- the largest of the Alley's two stages -- or to the public and backstage areas of the building, the building's air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems. Renovation plans include stage improvements, audience amenities such as new seats, expanded restaurants and a new lobby space with a skyline view, and building upgrades with a new air conditioning system and plumbing. The new theater is set to debut in time for the 2015 theater season. More...

 

Stages Theater - Renovation
Stages Repertory Theatre purchased the 36,000-square-foot building it calls home from the city in early 2014. Plans call for the longtime theater company to raise at least $4 million to renovate the space along Allen Parkway in Montrose. The building includes two theaters, a box office, administrative offices and production shops as well as office space for the Houston Arts Alliance. Work will begin once the fundraising goals are met. More... 

 

The MATCH Building $25 Million Community Arts Complex - Opening in 2015
Ground broke in May on the new Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH), which will serve as home base for several of Houston’s small and mid-sized visual and performing arts organizations. The $25 million complex will include four theaters, two rehearsal/ classroom spaces, gallery space and office space. The San Antonio-based architecture firm Lake/Flato partnered with local firm Studio Red on the design. A capital campaign for the project is still underway but the majority of the funding has already been raised.  More...

 

A.D. Players New Building - To Be Completed Early 2016
Construction is slated to start later this summer on a new facility for one of the city's largest theater companies. The A.D. Players are planning a new 900-seat complex just west of the Galleria. The project will include a 450-seat mainstage theater, a 300-seat children's theater and a 150-seat black box. More...

 
Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts New Campus - To be completed in mid to late 2017
Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, the first in the nation to marry academics with a concentrated training in the arts, is building a new 168,000-square-foot building Downtown. The massive new structure will relocate the school that inspired the musical Fame from its current Montrose campus into the center of Downtown adjacent to the Theater District. The five-level building will include an 800-seat main theatre with a balcony, dance and music studios, and art galleries. Plans also call for a modern outdoor dining area on the first level and outdoor roof terrace located near the library. More...

   SHOPS


Galleria - Redevelopment and Expansion
Work is set to begin soon on a redevelopment initiative that will bring more high-end retail to Houston's famed Galleria. Galleria III is being demolished to make room for a new, more pedestrian-friendly space that will front Westheimer and provide room for about 35 new luxury stores and a brand new Saks. The redevelopment is slated for completion by spring 2015. 

Lucchese

Kuhl Linscomb Expansion

River Oaks District

   NIGHTLIFE


The Nightingale Room - November 2014
Anew entertainment-focused lounge concept will open on Main Street in the Historic District this spring. The Nightingale Room is expected to bring a mix of jazz and blues musicians curated by partner Mike Criss tothe shotgun-style space beneath Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge. The new concept will offer wine and beer along with specialty punch and cocktails all in an antiqued setting complete with alarge chandelier, plenty of mirrors and exposed brick walls. The Nightingale Room pays homage to Houston musical legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale in the 1920s. More...

Public Services Wine & Whiskey - Opened October 2014
The historic Cotton Exchange Building in Downtown Houston has becomePublic Services Wine & Whiskey, a new concept from wine guru JustinVann and partners Justin Yu and Karen Man of Oxheart. The bar stocks a variety of off-the-beaten-path wines and whiskeys and the chefs are preparing a menu of "nontraditional" snacks for what promises to be anew Historic District hotspot. More...

Julep - Opened August 2014
Alba Huerta, currently the general manager of Anvil Bar and Refuge and partner in The Pastry War, has turned the key on her own cocktail bar, Julep. While maintaining a strong emphasis on classic cocktails, Julep--named after the iconic Southern cocktail--embraces Southern drinking culture. The bar offers a dynamic food menu, table service, patio seating, accommodations for private events and plenty of bourbon. More...


 


   SPORTS


Houston Dash - Debuted April 2014

Last spring, the Houston Dynamo launched the Houston Dash, a women’s professional soccer team that entered the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) as an expansion team. The Dash is owned by Dynamo ownership group and operated by the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. The NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation and is the top-flight women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as talent from around the world More...

 

   TRANSPORTATION & TOURS 


B-Cycle Expands Across Central Houston - Ongoing
The city's B-Cycle program kicked into high gear in 2014, expanding from a pilot phase of just three bike racks around Downtown to nearly 30 stretching from Montrose to the Museum District. The bike-share program allows member users to check-out cruiser-style bikes free of charge for up to an hour and just $2 for each additional ½ hour. More...

 
Houston Culinary Tours
A tour program that began in 2009 with monthly chef-led tours expanded this year to include walking tours of popular restaurant areas. Houston Culinary Tours continues to produce the highly popular Where the Chefs Eat tours that showcase the off-the-beaten-path spots inspiring local chefs. Tours around particular cuisines such as Korean and Indian as well as neighborhoods like Longpoint and Chinatown draw lots of attention. Now the program has expanded to include walking tours of Montrose and Downtown. The program will also soon include the Heights and offer culinary challenges and other foodie centric events that illustrate Houston's growing identity as a culinary capital. More...

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A.J. Mistretta
Senior Public Relations Manager
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
713-437-5206
amistretta@visithouston.com

Leah Fillion
Public Relations Manager
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
713-437-5275
lfillion@visithouston.com