Tag Archives: Marriott Marquis Houston

Houston Visitors Center Moves to Convention District

For many years, the official Houston Visitors Center has been a mainstay at City Hall, welcoming tourists and residents alike.

But on June 1st, the center opened its doors at a new location in the George R. Brown Convention Center, just steps away from the rapidly rising Marriott Marquis hotel. Here’s the information from Houston First Corporation, via Houston First News…

…Something new this week in our Downtown Convention District. The Houston Visitors Center… quietly opened its new doors on Monday June 1st. A grand opening is planned for July. The Visitors Center is housed just across from the George R. Brown.

The now vacated space at City Hall will be converted into event facilities.

The relocation is the latest in a sweeping transfiguration of the Convention District.  When complete in 2016, the George R. Brown will be the only convention center in the state connected to 2 1,000-room premium hotels.  Also under renovation, the GRB will feature a new promenade with at least 7 street-level restaurants facing Discovery Green, a flagship Starbucks Coffee shop at the Hilton Americas and a whole host of other signature amenities.

With all of these big moves aimed at improving the Downtown tourism experience, it only makes sense that the Houston Visitors Center be near all of the action, and closer to tourists hungry for Bayou City Swag.

HVC City Hall

The Houston Visitors Center in its former location at City Hall.  The new address is 1300 Avenida de Las Americas.  

(Photo credit:  Waymarking.com)


‘Hotel Mania’ for Downtown Houston

As written previously, Downtown Houston is in the beginning stages of a major construction boom, that will continue to ramp up through the course of 2014 and 2015. As the clock ticks closer and closer to Super Bowl LI, to be hosted in the Bayou City, a flood of new projects are racing to get completed before 2017. Though every conceivable type of construction is happening in Downtown, it appears the largest single type is going to be hotels during this high-activity period.

Many Houstonians may be wondering… why the need for so many hotels? Are they all being built just for the Super Bowl?

In reality, Houston is actually playing catch-up. The city’s is now in high demand to host more Conventions, and business leaders from all industries are starting to see the opportunities associated with that demand. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Houston Public Media story…

… the [GHCVB] achieved a hundred percent of its goals in booking domestic meetings, with a direct economic impact of $345 million. Well over a half-million definite rooms nights are booked for upcoming conventions — that’s one yardstick for measuring success. The bureau enjoyed 198 percent of its goals in booking international meetings, with a direct economic impact of $77 million. There were 203 film and commercial projects. Greg Ortale is president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“What it is, is we have a fairly robust database to find opportunities. We’re looking both for groups that have not made a decision on specific years and matching them up with our annual calendar to see if there’s a fit, and then we go and proceed after them.”

Ortale says the ten-year-long “My Houston” campaign has helped solidify Houston’s image.

“Where we got Houston-born — and many living, continuing to live here — celebrities to do endorsements, whether in print or video, about living here. We had well over 40 celebrities, all the way from Bush-41 to ZZ Top.”

That improving image seems to have a direct correlation to rapid growth in the Convention business, but other evidence suggests that it could’ve grown much faster. Studies by Houston First Corporation show that the city lost millions of dollars in potential business last year due to a lack of sufficient hotel room capacity.

But the plan to rectify this seems to be going well so far. Just last Friday, city leaders broke ground on the Marriott Marquis, a 1000-room facility that will be connected to the George R. Brown Convention center, and is set to be the next signature hotel for Houston. With the hotel will come retail and five new restaurants, sure to be a robust addition to Downtown’s retail landscape.

Marriott Marquis is the single largest hotel project, but it will be joined in good company. Other projects in downtown include an Aloft hotel, the 225 room Hotel Alessandra, 325 room J. W. Marriott, 261 room Hyatt Place, and the 215 room Savoy. All told, these projects will add well over 2,200 new hotel rooms to Downtown’s current inventory, and should go a long way to improving Houston’s Convention competitiveness. The increased foot traffic will undoubtedly have an impact on other downtown businesses, such as existing street-level retail. Exciting times ahead for Houston.

(The sleek new design of Hotel Alessandra, expected to open in 2016. Photo credit: Swamplot)

Downtown Houston’s Construction BOOM

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Houston is a city and metro that is growing… FAST. Today, Harris County has swelled to a staggering 4.25 million people. everywhere you look in and around Houston, construction is happening… apartments, townhomes, new shops and stores seem to be starting every day. 

But now, the Central Business district is about to heat up as fast as the greater metro. Starting in 2014, Downtown Houston is about to enter it’s greatest period of simultaneous construction activity since the late 70s and 80s. Chevron just announced the coming construction of a new 50-story tower, which would be the 2nd tallest construction project in Texas since the 80s. And that’s not even the half of it… Hines is set to announce an even taller skyscraper than Chevron in the near future. 

However the CBD’s growth is much more than mega high rises. The flurry of construction will be all over downtown. Besides the completion of the city’s three new rail lines in 2014, here’s some other projects that are underway or soon to commence… 

Marriott Marquis– a new 1,000 room hotel in the convention district 
JW Marriott-an historic restoration of 806 Main St. Converted into a 325 room hotel 
HSPVA– the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage

500 Crawford– a seven story residential complex

The Savoy restoration/ Hotel

And lots more. 

From the Downtown Houston marketing initiative, here is their latest attempt to try and keep up with all of the construction, plans and rumors. It’s going to be an exciting few years in downtown.