Houston Adds New Convention Center Hotel
by: Laurie Johnson, December 12, 2012 2:12:00 pm
The new hotel will sit on the north side of Discovery Green Park, directly opposite the Hilton Americas.
Houston councilmembers authorized the plan in a 16-1 vote, with Councilmember Mike Sullivan voting against it because
of all the tax incentives the city attached to the deal.
Houston-based developer RIDA will get about $138 million in a combination of tax rebates and land value to build the hotel.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker says it's a great investment for the city.
"We surveyed the marketplace, we looked at the deal we did on the Hilton Americas hotel and how beneficial that's been for Houston and we put together what we considered to be a competitive package."
The hotel will fall in Councilmember James Rodriguez's district, which also has the distinction of recently adding the Houston Dynamo Stadium.
Rodriguez was enthusiastic after its passage and says it's another stride in promoting tourism in Houston.
"We just made history, folks. And it's another great day in the city of Houston, another positive day for our community and we're going to create a lot of jobs for this community and our city. So congratulations, Mayor."
The developer will break ground on the hotel in 2014 with a scheduled opening in 2016.
RIDA President Ira Mitzner says up to now, Houston hasn't been able to secure the largest conventions because there aren't enough hotel rooms near the George R Brown.
"We proposed a thousand-room convention hotel that would be a bookend to the existing hotel, so that together the Hilton and the new Marriott hotel could go ahead and compete for the best meetings and shows and conventions from throughout the United States."
In addition to guest rooms, the new Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel will boast a grand ballroom and what may be the world's first rooftop lazy river.
"The first lazy river in the world on top of a 40,000 square foot ballroom. In the Texas Sky River, in the shape of our great state of Texas, you will be able to float a hundred feet in the air."
City officials estimate the construction of the hotel will create about 1,800 temporary jobs, with 700 permanent jobs after the hotel opens.