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What's New in Houston

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 · Hotels · Restaurants  · The Arts · Shops · Nightlife · Sports

 

   MAJOR PROJECTS


Downtown's Houston Entertainment Complex Becomes GreenStreet - Redevelopment to be Completed Fall 2014

Changes to the 568,294-square-foot Convention District complex formerly known as the Pavilions include creating a vibrant, urban linear park, an installation of water features, dynamic green space and outdoor patios. The facility now includes restaurants, retail and entertainment concepts such as House of Blues, Forever XXI, III Forks, McCormick & Schmick's and Lucky Strike bowling. Once renovations are complete in fall 2014, unique programming and events throughout the property will create an inviting and synergistic experience for guests to enjoy. Owner Midway plans to announce tenant additions to the property over the course of the renovation. More...

Princess and Norwegian Cruising into Port of Houston - 2014
The Port of Houston Authority has 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 will launch 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, major developments along Buffalo Bayou keep the buzz going. More...

Coming Soon


Major Developments Underway in Convention Center District - To Be Completed by 2016

Construction will begin on a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis in coming months, with an estimated completion date of mid-2016. The hotel will be connected to the north side of George R. Brown Convention Center, opposite the 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston that is connected to the south side of the center. Also near the convention center is the BBVA Compass Stadium, home to the MLS Houston Dynamo, which opened in May 2012. The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, a heritage tourism center, will break ground across the street from the convention center in 2014.

METRORail Expansion - To be Completed in Late 2014
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...

Hermann Park's Grand Gateway Renovation - To Be Completed Fall 2014
The Grand Gateway, the historic main entrance to Hermann Park, is undergoing a $5 million renovation, which includes landscaping and seasonal plantings; improved walkways to increase connectivity to neighborhoods and METRORail; pedestrian-scale lighting, benches and bike racks; and new drainage and irrigation to preserve the live oaks along Main Street.  More...

Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park - To Be Completed October 2014
The existing 15-acre Garden Center site will be reborn as the Centennial Gardens in celebration of the Park’s 100th anniversary. Hoerr Schaudt, the Chicago landscape architecture firm, is collaborating 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...


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 - Opening 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 will help 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...


$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...

Lone Star Flight Museum - Relocating/Expanding 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...

   HOTELS

 

Royal Sonesta – Renovations Completed September 2013
The former InterContinental Houston By The Galleria began operations as the Royal Sonesta Houston last summer and completed an extensive, $25-million renovation in the fall. The endeavor will focus on interior spaces, spanning the lobby, all 485 guestrooms, food & beverage outlets, 50,000 square feet of meeting & event venues, plus a substantial enhancement of existing amenities, such as the rooftop swimming pool. More...


The Lancaster Houston Hotel – Renovation Completed September 2013

Work began in April on a $10 million renovation of the historic Lancaster Houston Hotel, which opened as the Auditorium Hotel in 1926 and reopened as The Lancaster in 1983. The family-owned boutique property in the heart of the Theater District received an extensive redesign that includes the hotel's lobby and meeting spaces, as well as all guest rooms and suites. The project also included upgrades to the property's technology and mechanical systems. More...


Westin Downtown – Renovation Completed September 2013

The Inn at the Ballpark, located across the street from Minute Maid Park, has rebranded as the Westin Houston Downtown. The conversion to a Westin began with renovations that included updated furnishings and finishes throughout, an expansion of the fitnesscenter and a brand new lobby and lobby bar. The Landry's-owned property officially changed its name in September. More...

Coming Soon

JW Marriott - Opening August 15, 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 million to 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 August 15, 2014. Chef Erin Smith will oversee the hotel's culinary operations, including the 120-seat Main Kitchen. More...


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.


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.


Marriott Marquis - Opening Spring 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...

   RESTAURANTS

 
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...

Coltivare - Opened January 2014
Revival Market co-owners Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber have opened Coltivare, a rustic Italian restaurant, in The Heights. A3,000-square-foot garden will soon provide both the trattoria and Revival Market with the freshest of the season's vegetables, fruit and herbs. The small plates, salads, house made pastas and wood-oven fired pizzas feature Revival salumi and cheese selections. More...

Caracol - Opened December 2013

Caracol, a new concept from award-winning Hugo Ortega and wife Tracy Vaught, opened in the heart of Houston’s Galleria area at 2200 Post Oak Blvd. More...


Holley's - Opened July 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 Holley is known for and new experiences from the chef such as a raw bar. More...


Coming Soon

Bistro Menil - Opening Late Summer 2014
Chef Greg Martin will head the kitchen at Bistro Menil, the eatery slated to open later this summer on the campus of the Menil Collection. The bistro will offer an ever-changing, farm-to-table menu. More...

Weights + Measures - Opening September 2014
Bar owner Ian Rosenberg and business partner Mike Sammons are working on a Midtown project that will bring a restaurant, bakery and bar together under one roof. Weights + Measures will feature Slow Dough Bread Co.'s first retail shop as well as 150-seat restaurant. More...


Fluff Bake Bar- Opening Fall 2014

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 - 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...

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...

 

   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. 


   NIGHTLIFE


Dean's Downtown - Opened November 2013
Dean’s Downtown is the reinvention of Dean’s Credit Clothing, a Historic District hipster hangout. The bar has a new, posher look and a more elaborate cocktail and beer menu. Still, the bar plays up the classic parts of this century-old building—the original hardwood floors, the city’s first elevator. More...


The Pastry War - Opened September 2013
Bobby Heugel's Clumsy Butcher restaurant group opened a tequila and mezcal bar dubbed The Pastry War. This new concept at 310 Main Street takes its name from an 1838 invasion of Mexico by French forces. The Pastry War carries a wide selection of both liquors, many of which have never been poured in Texas previously. The spot will also offer classic Mexican cocktails, Mexican longnecks and French wines. More...

Coming Soon


Julep - Opening July 2014
Alba Huerta, currently the general manager of Anvil Bar and Refuge and partner in The Pastry War, is opening her own cocktail bar, Julep. While maintaining a strong emphasis on classic cocktails, Julep--named after the iconic Southern cocktail--will embrace Southern drinking culture. The bar will offer a dynamic food menu, table service, patio seating, accommodations for private events and plenty of bourbon. More...

Prohibition - Summer 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...
 

The Nightingale Room - Fall 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...



   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


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...

 
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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