Changing Houston

New restaurants and sidewalk cafes to transform Houston's convention center: A Super vision?

New restaurants, sidewalk cafes to transform Houston convention center

George R. Brown Convention Center upgrades along Avienda de las Americas Street rendering February 2015
A recently released rendering showing Las Avenida de las Americas as a "bold streetscape." Rendering courtesy of Marie Hoke
George R. Brown Convention Center upgrades along Avienda de las Americas Street rendering February 2015
Shopping and dining venues are in the latest plans. Rendering courtesy of Marie Hoke
George R. Brown Convention Center rendering with fireworks November 2014
The George R. Brown Convention Center as seen in the master plan. George R. Brown Convention Center/Facebook
George R. Brown Convention Center upgrades along Avienda de las Americas Street rendering February 2015
George R. Brown Convention Center upgrades along Avienda de las Americas Street rendering February 2015
George R. Brown Convention Center rendering with fireworks November 2014

About 30,000 square feet in new commercial space is in the works for the George R. Brown Convention Center to help attract as many as seven new retail, restaurant, sidewalk cafe and entertainment tenants in a "bold streetscape makeover" in the area  — just in time for Super Bowl LI in 2017.

Fred Griffin, chairman and CEO of Griffin Partners, and Ed Wulfe, chairman and CEO of Wulfe & Co., revealed the development plan accompanied by new renderings of the finished projects. Houston First Corp., which manages the GRB, joins Griffin Partners and Wulfe & Co. searching for new tenants.

The restaurants and other venue spaces will face Avenida de las Americas with large patios out front and range in size from about 1,500 square feet to more than 10,000 square feet. Houston First is also developing an office building at the north end of the GRB to include some of the retail space. The goal is to redesign Avenida de las Americas into a "high-energy gathering spot that focuses on pedestrian mobility."

 "These people places will be major amenities."  

As well, ongoing renovations to the convention center facade will create "an appealing grand entryway," according to officials.

In a statement, Houston First chairman Ric Campo said getting the "right mix of private-sector development is crucial in the overall growth of the area and helps fulfill the convention center master plan."

"These people places will be major amenities for the Avenida de las Americas — the boulevard in front of the GRB — the Houston Americas-Houston Hotel, Discovery Green, the new Marriott Marquis and the new offices and parking garage included in the master plan," Campo added.