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Houston First's Move

It's full speed ahead for new convention center hotel and it's going to be Texas big

Plans to build a second convention hotel in downtown Houston are moving ahead as organizers have begun an official search to locate a hotel developer.

The hotel, to be built just north of Discovery Green park near the George R. Brown Convention Center, is expected to have 1,000 rooms, making it one of the largest hotels in Texas. 

The new hotel would join the Hilton Americas-Houston as an important part of the city's convention package. Officials say Houston has an inadequate number of downtown hotel rooms, so it is eliminated from consideration on the shopping list of the nation’s largest meetings and conventions.

 The organization’s long term plan, stretching out to 2025, calls for four new hotels to be built around the George R. Brown. 

Houston First Corporation, which is representing the consolidation of the City of Houston Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department and the Houston Convention Center Hotel Corp., has designated 6.7 acres of land between the convention center and Minute Maid Park for the proposed hotel.

The hotel project could also be accompanied by residential and retail development if the private developer chooses to add those elements to the project, Houston First said in a “request for qualifications” document. Houston First — called a “local-government corporation” created by government officials — would not own the project, but might participate by assisting with tax rebates or other assistance.

Houston First is led by board chair Ric Campo, head of Camden Property Trust, one of the largest apartment companies in the nation. As a community service, Campo has been appointed by the city to oversee a number of major public sector developments. Houston First developed and owns the 1,200-room Hilton Americas, the largest hotel in Houston.

Houston First is seeking experienced real estate developers with pristine track records to tackle the second convention hotel.

The organization’s long term plan, stretching out to 2025, calls for four new hotels to be built around the George R. Brown.

"This year marks the 25th anniversary of the George R. Brown, and we’re committed to making our Convention District everything it can be in the years ahead," says Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First. 

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